Pynchon and Three Contemporary German Novelists

Author: Thomas Eckhardt (Berlin)

  • Pynchon and Three Contemporary German Novelists


    Pynchon and Three Contemporary German Novelists



In the 1990s, several literary critics, authors and editors complained that German prose fiction had become too theoretical and experimental. These proponents of what was variously termed new realism, Neue Lesbarkeit (new readability) or new narrativity claimed that younger authors had shut themselves off from the world and alienated their potential readers. They called on writers to eschew such modernist and postmodernist strategies as fragmentation and self-reflexiveness and instead focus on plot, character and action. Novels were to resemble good reporting or gripping movies. Well-told tales and compelling narratives drawn from personal experience and observation were to replace language games and radical subjectivity. Solid craftsmanship was to produce realistic portraits of contemporary German society. Not least, a more consumer-friendly prose style was to win back readers and enhance the competitiveness of German literature in the international market. German authors were frequently referred to the model of internationally successful U.S.-American authors. In particular, practitioners of the so-called dirty realism of the 1970s and 1980s, Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff and Richard Ford, were held up as examples of literary pragmatism and craftsmanship.

How to Cite:

Eckhardt, T., (2008) “Pynchon and Three Contemporary German Novelists”, Pynchon Notes , 66-77. doi:

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Published on
21 Sep 2008