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Rifts in Time and in the Self

The Female Subject in Two Generations of East German Women Writers

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Cheryl Dueck

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 marked the end of East Germany’s socialist regime and a new beginning for a unified German Federal Republic. Cultural historians agree that the event caused one of the deepest rifts in time and thinking seen by an entire generation of Germans—a rift that left its mark on the psyche of every citizen, challenging notions of the personal and the political, and crashing traditional understandings of the individual and the collective self.
In this bold rethinking of the question, Cheryl Dueck goes beyond the social, political, and psychological discourses that Marx and Freud, Foucault and Lacan viewed as the initiators of modern (socialist) identities to explore the literature and discourse of the quest for unity of the female subject. Reading such authors as Christa Wolf, Brigitte Reimann, Helga Königsdorf, and Helga Schubert, Dueck traces the striking fissures which run through time and through the female self, haunting women within the socialist project.
The book shows how two generations of women writers have struggled consciously and systematically in their letters, aesthetic writings, and literary production to create a new language to express their own sense of self within a restrictive socialist and patriarchal system. Rifts in Time and in the Self offers an unprecedented look at the reconceptualizations of the female subject during several phases of GDR history, and women writers’ persistent attempt to carve out spaces of identity and community.

Writing against Boundaries

Nationality, Ethnicity and Gender in the German-speaking Context

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Ediert von Barbara Kosta and Helga Kraft

Writing against Boundaries. Nationality, Ethnicity and Gender in the German-speaking Context presents a series of essays by prominent scholars who critically explore the intersection of nation and subjectivity, the production of national identities, and the tense negotiation of multiculturalism in German-speaking countries. By looking at a wide spectrum of texts that range from Richard Wagner's operas to Hans Bellmer's art, and to literature by Aras Ören, Irene Dische, Annette Kolb, Elizabeth Langgässer, Karin Reschke, Christa Wolf, to contemporary German theater by Bettina Fless, Elfriede Jelinek, Anna Langhoff, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, and to Monika Treut's films, the volume explores the intersection of gender, ethnicity and nation and examines concepts of national culture and the foreigner or so-called 'other.' Focusing on such issues as immigration, xenophobia, gender, and sexuality, the volume looks at narratives that sustain the myth of a homogeneous nation, and those that disrupt it. It responds to a growing concern with borders and identity in a time in which borders are tightening as the demands of globalization increase.

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Margrit Verena Zinggeler

This work analyzes texts by contemporary Swiss writer Gertrud Leutenegger in regard to the interrelationship of literary freedom and social constraints by applying different discursive variants of literary discourse analysis. How do the enigmatic texts written in an idiosyncratic and unique style, filled with myths and codes of dream and life sequences relate to the Swiss environment? Are they just free associations and combinations constituting an esoteric utopia? Is Gertrud Leutenegger ortslos as Martin Roda Becher defines postmodern writers?
Critical approaches of several schools of literary criticism; feminism, male gender studies, psychoanalysis, mythology, theory of style, linguistics, and sociolinguistics contrast the functional textual differentiations. A wide interdisciplinary need in literary projects is thus disclosed. Therefore, this volume is of interest for scholars of all branches of social and literary sciences.
Unprecedented are the models of masculinity and the images of men derived from a first person singular narrative by a Swiss woman writer. She works through the ontological process of subjectivity reflected in the image of a patriarch governor and an Italian immigrant.
The chapter on Swissness in the Text is of crucial importance concerning the categorization of German Literature and questions about minor literature.
This socio-critical analysis shows that there is a transcendence between the writing subject-(author) and literature. Yet, the body can be retrieved from literature since das Herz muß im Körper belassen werden, als Sitz der Erkenntnis, as Gertrud Leutenegger says. All her texts are body writings; her words originate in the female body experiencing constraints in Switzerland.

Arthurian Romance and Gender / Masculin/Feminin dans le roman Arthurien medieval / Geschlechterrollen im mittelalterlichen Arthurroman

Selected Proceedings of the XVIIth International Arthurian Congress / Actes choisis du XVIIe Congrès International Arthurien / Ausgewählte Akten des XVII. Internationalen Artuskongresses

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Ediert von Friedrich Wolfzettel

These selected proceedings of the XVIIth International Arthurian Congress (21 to 30 July, 1993 at Bonn) are a major contribution to problems connected with the semiotics of sex, gender and gender roles in Arthurian romance and more generally in medieval narrative. With regard to this particular topic, the proceedings provide a first comprehensive discussion, covering virtually the whole range of medieval Arthurian romance from the Chronicles and the 'classical' period onto verse and prose romances in the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth centuries, including Malory, and examining the most important works of the mainstreams of French, German, and English literatures. The variety of methods - philological, historical and sociological criticism, anthropological, psychoanalytical, semiotic and linguistic approaches - brought to bear on the texts indicate the growing importance of femininity in the narrative framework as well as a growing awareness of femininity as opposed to the chivalric, masculine set of values. In this perspective, Arthurian romance may be said to be due and revolve around the problem of the sexes or more precisely, gender studies help to define genre studies. Moreover, in pointing out - successful or thwarted - tendencies towards a reassessment of femininity, the studies of this volume may contribute to a better understanding of the civilizing process of the medieval world.

Amazonen der Literatur

Studien zur deutschsprachigen Frauenliteratur der 70er Jahre

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Margret Brügmann