Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Languages, Literatures and Cultures

First Advisor

Agnes Mueller


Identity formation is a reoccurring theme in an increasingly global world. Monolingualism and monoculturalism is no longer a possible in a global world. Like greater society, should contemporary literature not also argue for a multilingual, multicultural society? South Tyrol, a province that experienced Nazism and Fascism, control by both Mussolini and Hitler, pitted ethnic German and ethnic Italian speakers against one another. Today, since the founding of Schengen Europe eradicated border controls between Austria and Italy in 1997. South Tyrol is officially trilingual, with German, Italian, and Ladin1 being the official languages, and in recent years, has taken in a substantial number of immigrants from outside Europe, further problematizing the conundrum of what it means to be South Tyrolean.

This project is the beginning of an attempt to fulfill a gap in our understanding of how South Tyrolean literature grapples with conundrums of contemporary identity. Do German-language authors express remorse for a lost Heimat? Do Italian-language authors cast all German speakers as Nazi sympathizers? I argue that none of this is the case, but instead, South Tyrolean literature in both German and Italian collectively argue for a multilingual, multicultural paradigm, criticizing xenophobia. Eva dorme (Eva sleeps)(2010) by Francesca Melandri, Stillbach oder die Sehnsucht (Roman Elegy) (2011) by Sabine Gruber, and Die Walsche (The Italian) (1982) by Joseph Zoderer are the three novels I examine. Finally, if given more attention, this minor South Tyrolean literature can reach the world literary market, educating the world reader to embrace multilingualism and multiculturalism. By appealing to conventions of the popular novel, and admittingly, with greater promotion and translation, contemporary South Tyrolean literature can act as a model for embracing multilingualism and multiculturalism.


© 2022, Alec Lee Parry