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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Melina Mandelbaum publishes article with OUP

The Section warmly congratulates PhD student Melina Mandelbaum for her publication of an article with the Forum for Modern Language Studies, winner of the Forum prize, which has  been published by OUP. The article can be found here, and the abstract has been pasted below.


Once an international best-seller but largely unknown today, B. Traven’s novel Das Totenschiff (The Death Ship) of 1926 presents a scathing critique of state bureaucracy and raises questions about the nature of authority, identity, home, and belonging in communal life. Reading the novel alongside relevant texts from political theory, I examine Traven’s text in the light of the history of bureaucracy and statelessness that surrounded and drove its production. Traven will be shown to provide a compelling critique of modern structures of communal organization, both on the level of content and in his multi-layered, non-linear style which runs counter to the more confined consecutive exposition of traditional forms, such as the biographical novel. By disrupting established ways of narrating the dynamics of individualization and belonging, Das Totenschiff reveals some of the complex elements of bureaucratically administered exclusion, as carried forth in objects such as the passport.