(B10) Authorship as Scandal

Project B10 addresses the political and religious dimensions of literary authorship and their interrelation since 1945 with two closely related fields of research. Whereas the project team member adopts a literary sociological perspective of the literary field, the head of the project analyses the perception of authorship in the politico-cultural public.

Authorship as Scandal (Prof. Dr. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf)

The project assumes that the attention of the public will most notably be centred on authors when they become objects of scandals. It analyses authorship scandals as well as the political and religious dimensions taking effect in these, from 1989 on. Taking 1989 as an epochal break for investigating authorship scandals in the field of contemporary literature makes sense insofar as the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie that year marked the first instance that the religious perspective on an author produced worldwide attention within a political context. Currently, the violation of national taboos (Walser, Grass), alleged insincerity (Grass), ambiguity (Wolf), siding with the ‘wrong’ side (Wolf, Handke), copyright infringements (Google, Hegemann) and the failure to observe the line dividing fiction and reality (Wilkomirski, Biller) continue to prove themselves as potentially scandalous. The project characterises scandal as a stage on which hidden religious dimensions of authorship become visible in a politico-social space for communication. As both scandals and the authors’ public image live on their staging, the authorship scandal’s media-related aspects of staging will be paid particular attention.

More information on Dr. Christian Sieg's projekt on the German site