Framed Visions

Popular Culture, Americanization, and the Contemporary German and Austrian Imagination
Gerd Gemunden
Emphasizes the fluid relationship between literature, cinema, and social life


Framed Visions analyzes the pivotal role American mass media and popular culture have played in shaping the political, social, and psychological identity of postwar Germans and Austrians. Through detailed readings of films, novels, plays, and poems of a variety of contemporary artists--including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Elfriede Jelinek, Herbert Achternbusch, Monika Treut, Peter Handke, and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann--Gerd Gemünden reveals the paradoxical stance of this generation toward American politics and Hollywood aesthetics. On the one hand, they are pulled toward a culture that has shaped childhood images, tastes and desires; on the other, they reject American politics and the colonizing effect of its mass culture.

In contrast to most scholarship about the reception of U.S. culture abroad, this study underscores the imaginary relation of contemporary German and Austrian artists to America. Topics such as "Americanization" and "cultural imperialism" are therefore treated not as a foreign principle imposed from the outside but as ways that German and Austrian artists have tried to come to terms with their own problematic culture and history. Gemünden's study elucidates how the culture of the United States has been mapped in contradictory ways onto questions of national and cultural identity in Germany and Austria over the last thirty years.

Gerd Gemünden is Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a well-grounded and illuminating contribution to our understanding of the German and Austrian imagination, particularly as it has been shaped by or has been resistant to American popular culture. . . . For scholars, readers, thinkers, film viewers, and those of us who turn the volume up on the car radio when certain songs are played, Framed Visions is a welcome insight into how in the late twentieth century we articulate (frame?) our positions vis-à-vis high culture, low culture, and increasingly integrated national cultures."
    --David Caldwell, Univ. of Northern Colorado, German Quarterly, Winter 2000
  • "Well written and well informed, rich in detail and fair in judgment, Framed Visions is a fascinating tour de force through the American Imaginary of the (post)modern German and Austrian Imagination."
    --Frederick A. Lubich, Old Dominion University, Monatshefte, Volume 91, No. 4 (1999)

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 248pp.
  • 20 photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1999
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08560-6

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  • $30.95 U.S.