"Krise als medialer Leitbegriff und kulturelles Erzählmuster:
During the last two decades there has not only been a wide range of ever more crises of all sorts; we have also witnessed an inflationary use of the term crisis, and a concomitant proliferation of factual and fictional crisis narratives across various media. The first section of this introduction provides a brief overview of some of the crisis narratives and crisis scenarios that have recently emerged, while also outlining the topic of this special issue. Delineating some of the most important recent developments in interdisciplinary research on this still underresearched topic, section 2 then explores both the concepts of crisis and crisis narratives, and their main recurrent features, highlighting major trends and seminal publications (section 2). As the subtitle already indicates, the focus will be on an exploration of the functions that crisis narratives and the scenarios evoked by them in general (section 3), and literary crisis narratives in particular (section 4), serve to fulfil. This introductory essay concludes by providing a brief overview of the articles that follow as paradigm examples for exploring crisis narratives in literary studies (section 5), and of future perspectives that the recent proliferation of crises might have for research and university teaching (section 6), arguing that literary scholars in general, and narrative theorists in particular could, and arguably should, contribute to a better understanding of the forms and functions of the medial uses of crises by shedding light on crisis narratives and crisis scenarios.