The volume brings together twenty-five scholars from British and German universities, many of them leading experts on Contemporary German Literature, in an exploration of the processes and implications of German unification from the literary point of view. A discussion of the intellectual climate which nurtured the 'peaceful revolution' in the GDR is followed by analyses of the work and attitudes of significant east German authors; an underlying theme is the loss of identity, the loss of Utopia. West German reactions to the questions of unity and identity are then analysed, and a series of comparative studies presented. Finally, themes of importance for the common German future are discussed with particular reference to newer writers: environmental issues, women's writing, the changing role of the poet, problems of innovation.
Among the authors discussed are Christa Wolf, Stefan Heym, Christoph Hein, Volker Braun, Heiner Muller, Monika Maron, Gunter Grass, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Martin Walser, Siegfried Lenz, Peter Schneider, Heinz Czechowski, Sarah Kirsch, Helke Sander, Uta Treder, Steffen Mensching, Bert Papenfuss-Gorek, Gert Neumann, Wolfgang Hilbig, Franz Fuhmann and Botho Strauss."