Post-colonial German authors: two autobiographies

by Elisa Leonzio

This paper aims to introduce Italian readers to the writings of colonial and post-colonial German-speaking authors, a chapter of German literature which for the most part is neglected by scholars both in Germany and abroad. After a brief introduction, the article explores the historical background of (post)colonial German literature, examining the colonial power of the Wilhelminian Empire and its rapid decline. A second part of the article is devoted to the language of propaganda used in the literature, reference works and political texts of the pre-colonial and colonial eras. The third and last section considers what is known as “colonial amnesia”, a phenomenon which affected both the GDR and FRG after World War II, and describes how memory was recovered thanks to the efforts of popular weekly magazines, newspapers and television programs in the GDR and to the publication, over the last seven years, of two autobiographies written by young German-Namibian women.

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