Gwendolin Engels, Claude Haas, Dirk Naguschewski, Elisa Ronzheimer (ed./eds.)

Im Fuhrpark der Literatur
Kulturelle Imaginationen des Autos
[Literature’s carpool. Cultural imaginations of the car.]

Wallstein, Göttingen 2022, 354 pages
ISBN 978-3-8353-5227-8

The automobility that we have all taken for granted is today being put under question: the climate crisis as well as emerging changes in transport policies or the increasing digitalization of society all contribute to a cultural-historical turning point. The authors of this bilingual volume investigate cultural imaginations of the car between nostalgic glorification and auratic promise for the future. The essays are grouped in four sections: 1) different forms of automobility and its boundaries, with an emphasis on particularly drastic expression, namely literary and cinematic depictions of car crashes. 2) the use of different types of vehicles as an example allows to trace the way of the car into and out of modernity. 3) The comparison of Germany to the United States reveals cultural and national differences in the use of cars. And 4) a closer look at what’s going on inside the car allows to understand how social meaning as well as a particular medial and technological reflection can be generated.

Awarded the MOTORWORLD Book Prize 2023 (special prize).

Media Response

13 May 2023
Benzin im Blut

Review by Kai Spanke, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 111 (13 May 2023), 10