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Henrik Nolde, M.A.

Poetics of the Global Village: Transnational Local-Color Literature as a Medium for Reflection upon Globalization


Dissertation Abstract

It is by no means contradictory that rural areas are also increasingly receiving attention as worldwide connectivity and the technologically induced acceleration of everyday life related to globalization processes are being experienced. On the contrary, an engagement with socio-historical transformation processes of trans-local reach can already be viewed as a characteristic constitutive to a tradition of realistic village prose, which took shape in numerous European national literatures almost simultaneously in the 19th Century and enjoyed great popularity. Comparable peak phases of a narrative turn towards rural living environments have since been recognizable worldwide during periods of social change and emphasize the significance of a transnational literature focused on rural areas, both highlighting and reflecting upon the overarching intertwinement between the local and the global.

A pronounced world consciousness, as a perceptual horizon against which a narrative confrontation with rural life unfolds, distinguishes a number of literary village tales and likewise represents a basic prerequisite for formulating decidedly local perspectives on complex facets of global developments. Fundamental questions regarding the ‘narratability’ of rural areas as well as contemporary socio-philosophical discourses are thus addressed. By implication, fictional villages at times appear as a literary testing ground for experimenting with communal ways of life that deviate from dominant national or centralized standards. The imagination of rural world models is
accompanied by the construction of alternative reference points that evade traditional norms of interpretation. Parallel to this, new realistic narrative strategies are repeatedly tried out in the context of transnational rural literature. Here, a fluid handling of literary techniques and traditions, which can be viewed as paradigmatic for the genre’s dynamics and reflexive potential, is discernable.

In this form of the village tale, rural figures emerge as autonomous subjects concerned with exercising control over their own narratives and ensuring that urban institutions do not undisputedly define discourses on rural living, thus forcing the supposedly static dualism between the center and the periphery to be renegotiated. The result is the narrative configuration of a reciprocal relationship of exchange between these spheres. In the course of this, the village appears as a structurally important space, and representatives of the rural population are established as actors that must be taken seriously within the complex web of modern life under the conditions of progressing globalization.

Short CV

Since 2018 PhD Candidate at the Research Training Group

2017: M.A. Comparative Literature, University of Bonn

2014: B.A. European Literatures, University of Marburg