Dimension2: Contemporary German-Language Literature

Volume 1, Number 2


Forward! -- Editorial

Ingo R. Stoehr

Each issue of DIMENSION2 has its own pleasures and challenges; the copyright questions are always at the top of the list of challenges. With books in print, this seems to be at worst a matter of patience with some publishers. In fact, most publishers are very cooperative, even to the extent of making galley proofs available to me. This way it is possible for me to plan ahead and make sure that I present a well-balanced selection of German-language literature, which in turn will hopefully encounter a growing audience here in the USA and in other English-speaking countries.

However, the copyright issue seems to be downright complex when it comes to literary archives and similar institutions. Therefore, I am particularly grateful for the cooperation from the Uwe Johnson Archives and their director, Eberhard Fahlke, and owner of the copyright for Johnson's texts, Suhrkamp Publishing House. Without their support this first issue with focus on literary archives would not have been feasible.On the one hand, my plans are to literally "focus" on particular literary institutions such as archives, i.e., present that institution's special importance in several ways: first, by means of an interview with a person who is involved with the institution, such as its director; second, with a selection of unpublished texts that are representative of that institution; finally, with an essay or essays introducing either the selected texts and/or their author(s). This issue does just that with the Uwe Johnson Archives in Frankfurt/Main; the May issue in 1995 is scheduled to focus on the Literary Archives in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, which was founded by Walter Höllerer.On the other hand, I hope to include texts from other archives which are not featured in that issue, but will be in later issues or have been in earlier ones. For this reason, I am especially grateful to Joseph A. Kruse, director of the Heinrich Heine Institute, for making available unpublished texts by Rose Ausländer (whose works are being published by Fischer Publishing House) and Rolf Bongs.Over the years, all May issues together will help provide a well-rounded survey of postwar German-language literature by means of making available to readers and researcher alike selected texts that are located mostly in archives in German-speaking countries, thus not easily accessible to readers who do not live in these countries. The May issues, then, will complement nicely both the January issues, with the latter's up-to-date selections from new books of the previous fall, and the September issues, which present texts about a particular topic.Still, the focus of each issue is not exclusive; in fact, this issue also presents a selection of recent texts, primarily poems. As I select texts from areas outside the particular focus of an issue, I plan to have something similar to "columns" that newspapers have on a regular basis, i.e., texts on specific topics such as current affairs, minority voices, and the image of America in German-language literature.

This time, I wrote the View from America myself as a result of some unusual circumstances. Although I have worked on Johnson--even done research in the Uwe-Johnson-Archives--and, in fact, have presented a version of my translation analysis of Jahrestage versus Anniversaries at a conference a number of years ago, it is not my intention to do much of this type of writing for DIMENSION2. However, I hope that the Translation Notes , which I include in this issue for the very first time, will eventually grow. In this issue, there are only notes to two translations, and I am very grateful to the translators for supplying them. Not all translations require notes, of course. Yet the two translations in question certainly belong to the category where translation notes are enlightening.


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