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Literatur nach der Dystopie:

Ein Zukunftsbericht in Zeiten der COVID-19-Krise

Elisabeth Herrmann


Pages 413 - 443



Abstract: Based on theoretical considerations of Aristotle’s law of probability and necessity, this contribution examines the long-term influence of a global historical event like the COVID-19 crisis on our perception of reality. What happens if an unprecedented situation previously conceivable purely as fiction suddenly becomes real and literature is caught up by reality? Then, according to the thesis put forward here, this is the end of dystopia and the beginning of a new reality, accompanied by a blatant ‘reality shock’. In the form of an essay, the article first describes the historical event of the COVID-19 pandemic in its affective component and explains why and how it has been experienced as a crisis. The article further examines what effects this crisis experience might have on our perception of reality and fiction, and on future literature. Special attention is given to the literary form of speculative realism which opens up new forms of thinking and enables reflection on how we can re-conceptualize our passive ‘being in the world’ as an involved ‘acting in this world’ thus taking responsibility not only for the present but also for the future.

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