Ilija Trojanow, born in Bulgaria in 1965 and brought up in East Africa, established his name as an international writer with the novel Der Weltensammler or The Collector of Worlds (2006), about the cross-cultural Victorian adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. Since the mid-1990s Trojanow has been prolific in a number of genres, including travel, ethnography and science fiction. He has also become a major public intellectual in Austria and Germany with provocative interventions on topics such as Islam and the West, civil rights in the age of cybersurveillance and climate change. His imaginative writing sits at the centre of a number of defining contemporary concerns, in particular the relationship between identity, language and culture.
This volume contains an interview with Trojanow, a previously unpublished essay by him on Lessing’s Enlightenment parable of inter-religious tolerance, Nathan der Weise (Nathan the Wise), and essays by European and North American scholars on central aspects of his growing oeuvre. The contributors explore why Trojanow is one of today’s leading writers of German while challenging a number of myths that have grown up around him and his magnum opus, Der Weltensammler.
Julian Preece is Professor of German Studies at Swansea University and Director of its Centre for Contemporary German Culture. He is the author of Nine Lives: Ethnic Conflict in the Polish-Ukrainian Borderlands (1999; with Waldemar Lotnik), The Life and Work of Günter Grass: Literature, History, Politics (2001), Out of the Shadows of a Husband: The Rediscovered Writings of Veza Canetti (2007) and Baader-Meinhof and the Novel: Narratives of the Nation/Fantasies of the Revolution, 1970-2010 (2012).