Warwick Workshop for Interdisciplinary German Studies - Helmut Schmitz: ‘How To Have One's Cake And Eat It: Navid Kermani's Große Liebe, Sufi Mysticism, And Paradoxical Cultural Identities’
Tuesday 05 December, 5:30-7pm, R0.14
Helmut Schmitz: ‘How To Have One's Cake And Eat It: Navid Kermani's Große Liebe, Sufi Mysticism, And Paradoxical Cultural Identities’
In cooperation with the Centre for Research in Philosophy, LIterature and the Arts
Navid Kermani’s novel Große Liebe (2014, Love Writ Large) charts the development of a young teenager’s infatuation with an A-level student in the early 1980s in Germany. The love story is refracted through the adult narrator’s reflections and through readings from Sufi mysticism and Nizami’s 12th ct. epic poem Lailï and Majnûn. This creates a narrative framework in which (Iranian and Muslim) cultural sources and (West German) cultural memory subtly comment on one another, allowing Kermani to ironically undermine both contemporary masculinity and his narrator’s former self as lover while simultaneously reflecting on the cultural and religious traditions of his own background and their relations to a Western tradition of love. The paper examines Kermani’s ironic narrative construction in the context of his construction of a paradoxical cultural identity.