Cover Osteuropa 2/2008

In Osteuropa 2/2008

On Both Sides of the Stream
Literary Representations of the Memel

Laurynas Katkus

Deutsche Fassung


In literature, rivers are a multilayered motif: They stand for nature and time, are cultural and political borders, and establish links. As a European river, the Memel is a topic of German, Lithuanian, Polish, and Belarusian literature. In German culture, it was often perceived as a border between west and east European culture. In the work of Johannes Bobrowski, the river acts as an ambivalent element that creates both ties and divisions; it also plays a central role as an existential place. For Lithuanian literature, the Memel symbolises national identity and history.

(Osteuropa 2/2008, pp. 91–127)