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    Dementia narratives in contemporary German women’s writing

    Heffernan, Valerie (2017) Dementia narratives in contemporary German women’s writing. Journal of Romance Studies, 17 (3). pp. 361-378. ISSN 1473-3536

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    As the population ages and dementia becomes more commonplace, we have seen a corresponding increase in the frequency and popularity of works of fiction about this illness. This article looks at two recent German novels that feature characters with dementia, Katharina Hagena’s Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen [The Taste of Apple Seeds] (2008) and Kathrin Gerlof’s Alle Zeit [‘All the Time’] (2009). I explore how literary texts can encourage readers to engage with the human side of this dementia by allowing them to imagine what it might feel like to care for a loved one with this debilitating illness or to develop dementia themselves. I further examine how this insight can be made even more potent when the writer incorporates particular narrative strategies and stylistic devices that replicate the confusion and disorientation that are central to dementia. Ultimately, I make a case for the particular role that fictional literature can play in promoting empathy for people with dementia and their caregivers.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: dementia narrative; empathy; German women’s writing; Katharina Hagena; Kathrin Gerlof;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > German
    Item ID: 11480
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Valerie Heffernan
    Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 14:18
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Romance Studies
    Publisher: Institute of Modern Languages Research
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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