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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: October 2014

10 - Generational Conflicts, Generational Affinities: Broch, Adorno, Adler, Sebald

from Part IV - Literary Legacies and Networks


Adler and Sebald are two Einzelgänger of literature (as Michael Krüger's postscript to this volume suggests) but they both were also enmeshed in a rich network of literary relationships. Not only do they share certain literary affinities, above all with Kafka, but as writers who also are participating in the contested terrain of postwar German literature and cultural discourse, their relationship to each other is also part of a complex field of literary interrelations. To analyze these interrelations is to view the links between Adler and Sebald as part of a network of intellectual relationships that constituted the field of discourse in postwar Germany. This network was largely conditioned by the questions of what it meant to write in German after Nazism and, especially, what purpose literature might serve after Auschwitz. In drawing out the importance of Adler's and Sebald's literary networks in these heated debates, I draw on Pierre Bourdieu's theories of the literary field, looking at the ways in which both writers attempt to accrue cultural capital by building literary networks among their contemporaries and positioning themselves against writers of an older generation. I demonstrate that the shared intertextual networks that link Adler and Sebald are part of a larger map of intergenerational power struggles in the fields of German literature, Germanistik and Holocaust testimony.