Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2018

In Osteuropa 1-2/2018

“Surrounded by voices”
Alexievich’s literary monuments and the Nobel Prize

Christoph Bartmann

Deutsche Fassung


When Svetlana Alexievich was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, a debate was ignited regarding the status of her works, with critics doubting that they could be classed as literature. The extended concept of literature postulated by the Swedish Academy in making its decision was in general not new. In this way, it served the purpose of the sponsor of the prize, whose aim was above all to honour “idealistic” literature. Alexievich also represents a trend towards the softening of genre bounda-ries, towards “autofiction” and “life writing”. Her methods are journalistic, while the effect of her texts is literary. She takes collected testimonies and uses them to create monuments to an epoch and its people.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2018, pp. 45–54)