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Andree Michaelis

In my scholarly work I focus on German Jewish literature from the Enlightenment until today. My special fields of interest are literary works by Shoah survivors and the German culture of remembrance after 1945. In these matters, I deal with questions about the autobiographical self, mediality, and memory. Moreover, I am fascinated by the intellectual span of twentieth century literary theory – by the works of Saussure, the Russian Formalists, Foucault, Derrida, Barthes, and others. Last but not least, I engage in concepts of narratology, for they constitute the indispensable methodological basis of our discipline.

Currently, I am in the process of developing a research project dealing with constellations of friendship within the history of German-Jewish (or European-Jewish) relations since the eighteenth century. My attention is drawn to friendships where they fail as well as were they succeed, friendships between Jewish and non-Jewish writers and intellectuals such as Mendelssohn, Nicolai and Lessing in the eighteenth century and Ruth Klüger and Martin Walser in the twentieth. One of my key questions is how these attempted friendships shaped the cultural history of the last 200 years. I understand “friendship,” meant as a preliminary term in my work, as a specific discursive place of (social) encounter, where a private relationship gains public reputation without becoming a stable institution. Within this framework, I want to analyze all writings that can tell us something about the character and the development of a specific friendship, focusing especially on their aesthetic, their intellectual, and their historical meaning in the light of the German-Jewish (or European-Jewish) dialogue, which today we must consider as having failed.