Jill E. Twark

Jill Twark
German Coordinator

252-328-6536 (phone)
252-328-6233 (fax)
Bate 3316 (office)
Dept. Foreign Languages & Literatures
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353


  • B.A. German and History, Kent State University
  • M.A. German Literature, Kent State University
  • Ph.D. German Literature, U. Wisconsin-Madison

Areas Of Interest

  • 20th & 21st c. German literature and cultural studies
  • Literature of the GDR and reunified Germany

Prof. Twark comes from Ohio and lived and studied in Germany for many years. Her 2007 monograph, Humor, Satire, and Identity: Eastern German Literature in the 1990s , examines the humorous and satirical literary modes in the prose texts of ten Eastern German authors coming to terms with their GDR experiences and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her edited volume, Strategies of Humor in Post-Unification German Literature, Film, and Other Media (2011), features analyses of literary texts, films, political cartoons, cabaret, and other types of performance that enrich four prominent postwall German cultural trends: post-unification identity reconstruction, Vergangenheitsbewältigung, New German Popular Literature, and immigrant perspectives. The artworks display a wide spectrum of humor modes, such as irony, satire, the grotesque, Jewish humor, and slapstick, as responses to unification with the accompanying euphoria, but also alienation and dislocation. In 2015 she co-edited with Axel Hildebrandt an anthology titled Envisioning Social Justice in Contemporary German Culture.

Study Abroad

  • 2005 Fulbright Summer Seminar in Berlin on Current Trends in Contemporary German Literature
  • 1999-2000 Universität Bonn, Germany
  • 1992-94, 1998-99 Universität Leipzig, Germany
  • Fall 1990 Leicester University, England
  • Summer 1989 Universität Innsbruck, Austria
  • Spring 1988 Kent State Semester in Florence



Articles & Book Chapters

  • “Cruel Optimism as Plot Driver in German and Austrian Economic Crisis Novels with Adult and Child Protagonists Thrust into Poverty.” Invested Narratives: German Responses to Economic Crisis. Ed. Jill E. Twark. Berghahn Books: Oxford, UK and New York. Forthcoming November 2022. 
  • Co-authored with Birgit Jensen, Susanne Jones, and David L. Smith. “Learning German in and for the 21st Century.” In Outreach Strategies and Innovative Teaching Approaches for German Programs, ed. Melissa Etzler and Gabriele Maier. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2021. 45-63.
  • “German Film Comedy in the ‘Berlin Republic’: Wildly Successful and a Lot Funnier than You Think.” European Cinema in the Twenty-First-Century: Discourses, Directions and Genres. Ed. Laura Canning and Ingrid Lewis. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 263-279.
  • Co-authored with Daniel Franch and Paige Vaughan. “The Benefits of Apprentice Teaching with Undergraduates in German Language Classes.” Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 51.1 (Spring 2018): 1-14. AATG Best Article Award for the Journal in 2018.
  • Co-authored with Robert Blankenship. ” Berliner Sonderschule: History, Space, and Humour in Jan Ole Gerster’s Oh Boy (A Coffee in Berlin).” Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 53.4 (2017): 362-381.
  • “Approaching History as Cultural Memory through Humour, Satire, Comics, and Graphic Novels.” Contemporary European History 26.1 (2017): 175-88.
  • “Negotiating the Politics and Aesthetics of Satire: Satirical Novels in the GDR and Beyond.” Re-Reading East Germany: The Literature and Film of the GDR. Ed. Karen Leeder. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 126-42.
  • Co-authored with Patricia Anne Simpson. “Die Toten Hosen, Rammstein, Azad, and Massiv: German Rock and Rap Go Global for Social Justice.” Envisioning Social Justice in Contemporary German Culture. Ed. Jill Twark and Axel Hildebrandt. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2015. 88-118.
  • Co-authored with Birgit Jensen and Susanne Lenné Jones. “Erfolgsstrategien zur Wiederbelebung eines universitären Germanistikstudienganges in den Vereinigten Staaten [Successful Strategies for Revitalizing a University German Program in the United States].” Aussiger Beiträge 5 (2011) 23-34.
  • “New Eastern German Satire: Ingo Schulze’s Neue Leben as ‘Novel of Complexity.'” Gegenwartsliteratur 8 (2009): 67-89.
  • “Landscape, Seascape, Cyberscape: Narrative Strategies to Dredge up the Past in Günter Grass’s Novella Im Krebsgang,” Gegenwartsliteratur 3 (2004): 143-168.
  • Co-authored with Kristie Foell. “Bekenntnisse des Stasi-Hochstaplers Klaus Uhlzscht: Thomas Brussig’s Comical and Controversial Helden wie wir.German Writers and the Politics of Culture: Dealing with the Stasi. Eds. Paul Cooke and Andrew Plowman. Houndmills, Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 173-194.
  • “Hurra, Humor ist nicht mehr eingeplant! Eastern German Cabarettists Speak Out.” Legacies and Identity: East and West German Literary Responses to Unification. British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature. Volume 31. Ed. Martin Kane. Oxford, England et al.: Peter Lang, November 2002. 127-147.
  • “‘Ko…Ko…Konolialismus,’ said the giraffe: Humorous and Satirical Responses to German Unification.” Textual Responses to German Unification: Processing Historical and Social Change in Literature and Film. Eds. Kristie Foell, Rachel J. Halverson, and Carol Anne Costabile-Heming. New York and Berlin: de Gruyter, 2001. 151-169.
  • “Mathias Wedel and Matthias Biskupek: Two Satirists ‘ im Wandel der Wende’,” Glossen 10 (2000).

Reviews & Encyclopedia Entries

  • “Joachim von der Goltz’s Deutsche Sonette [German Sonnets].” Co-authored with Harriet Carlton. The Literary Encyclopedia. Web. 27 August 2021. https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=40575. 
  • “Der Giftpilz.” Co-authored with S. Elisha Brooker. The Literary Encyclopedia. Web. 9 April 2020. https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=39079.
  • “Erich Mühsam.” Co-authored with Noah MacKay. The Literary Encyclopedia. Web. 6 March 2020. https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=14521.  
  • Review of Komik. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch. Ed. Uwe Wirth. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2017. Monatshefte 111:4 (December 2019): 615-617.
  • Review of Ambivalenzen des Übergangs. Die Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin in den neunziger Jahren by Antje Dietze. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015. Connections: A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists (13 December 2018): https://www.connections.clio-online.net/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-24763.
  • Review of Kunst & Komik. Ed. Friedrich W. Block. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2016. Monatshefte 109.3 (2017): 466-469.
  • Review of The Politics of Humour: Laughter, Inclusion, and Exclusion in the Twentieth Century. Ed. Martina Kessel and Patrick Merziger. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012 and Politik und Ethik der Komik. Ed. Susanne Kaul und Oliver Kohns. München: Fink, 2012. Monatshefte 106.2 (2014): 323-326.
  • Review of The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, adapted from Elisabeth Hauptmann’s German version of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Directed by John Shearin. ECU/Loessin Playhouse, McGinnis Theatre, East Carolina University. Reviewed 19 April 2012.Communications from the International Brecht Society 41 (2012): 111-12.
  • Interview with Mr. John Shearin, Director of the School of Theatre and Dance, East Carolina University. 30 April 2012. Communications from the International Brecht Society 41 (2012): 113-16.
  • Review of Generational Shifts in Contemporary German Culture. Edited by Laurel Cohen-Pfister and Susanne Vees-Gulani. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010. German Studies Review 35.2 (May 2012): 459-61.
  • Review of Gender and Laughter: Affirmation and Subversion in Traditional and Modern Media. Ed. Gaby Pailer, Andreas Böhn, Stefan Horlacher, and Ulrich Scheck. Amsterdam: Rodopi 2009. In Monatshefte 103.3 (Fall 2011): 452-454.
  • Simple Storys: Ein Roman aus der ostdeutschen Provinz.” [“Simple Stories: A Novel from the East German Provinces”]. The Literary Encyclopedia. Online. 19 July 2010.
  • Neue Leben: Die Jugend Enrico Türmers in Briefen und Prosa. Herausgegeben, kommentiert und mit einem Vorwort versehen von Ingo Schulze.” [“New Lives: The Youth of Enrico Türmer in Letters and Prose. Edited and with Commentary and Introduction by Ingo Schulze”]. The Literary Encyclopedia. Online. 2 August 2010.
  • Review of Constructing Authorship in the Work of Günter Grass by Rebecca Braun. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2008. German Quarterly, 83.3 (2010).
  • Review of Schreiben nach der Wende-Wende im Schreiben? Literarische Reflexionen nach 1989/90. by Kerstin E. Reimann. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2008. Monatshefte 102.1 (2010).
  • Kerstin Hensel.The Literary Encyclopedia. Online. 26 January 2009.
  • Helden wie wir (Heroes like us).” The Literary Encyclopedia. Online. 26 January 2009.
  • Review of Geschichte(n) – Erzählen. Konstruktionen von Vergangenheit in literarischen Werken deutschsprachiger Autorinnen seit dem 18. Jahrhundert ed. Marianne Henn, Irmela von der Lühe, and Anita Runge. Göttingen: Wallstein, 2005, German Studies Review 31.1 (February 2008): 209-210.
  • Review of Theater der Wende – Wendetheater (Film-Medium-Diskurs, 11) by Birgit Haas. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2004. German Studies Review 29.3 (October 2006): 642-643.
  • Review of Volker Braun in Perspective. German Monitor 58 ed. Rolf Jucker. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2004. German Quarterly 78.3 (Summer 2005): 397-398.
  • Review of Tumulus by Volker Braun. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1999. Focus on Literatur 7 (2000). 135-140.
  • “So larmoyant sind sie im Osten gar nicht: Gespräch mit Bernd Schirmer.” GDR Bulletin 26 (1999): 39-44.
  • “Satireschreiben vor und nach der Wende: Interview mit Matthias Biskupek.” GDR Bulletin 26 (1999): 45-53.