Catastrophic Topographies of Standstill

Mag. Nicola Kopf

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. i. R. Dr. Annegret Pelz


The project focuses on contemporary German language literature since the 1960s and explores the recurring motif of (temporal) standstill in catastrophic imaginations. By looking at seemingly stagnant worlds, frozen landscapes or arrested ecosystems in (post-)apocalyptic prose texts, the thesis examines m/mobilities deriving from such environments of stagnation and conceptualizes them as dynamic topographies of the anticipated end time(s). Future fictions such as Marlen Haushofer’s novel Die Wand (1963), Christoph Ransmayr’s Strahlender Untergang (2003), Thomas Lehr’s 42 (2005) or Valerie Fritsch's Winter’s Garten (2005) thereby prove to be virulent diagnoses of the present that can be read against the backdrop of current debates on im/mobility, the Anthropocene, and acceleration.