Comprehensive Interpretation of the Life and Work of Christa Wolf, 20th Century German Writer

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Christa Wolf has been celebrated as one of the most innovative German-speaking postwar writers and is the recipient of many international awards and prizes. Her fiction has also earned her censorship and international criticism. Her prose brilliantly depicts East and West Germany’s path to coming to terms with the influence of the Hitler regime. This study examines her fiction, speeches, and essays, illustrating how the trinity of identity, socialization and artistic creativity evolves and manifests itself in her writing.


“This is an important study of a writer whose fate it was to grow up and mature under three political regimes. Born in 1929 in the eastern part of Germany she came under the influence of the Third Reich. After WII she found herself in the GDR where she completed her schooling, raised a family and began to write in 1961, achieving international fame. Then in 1990. . . She came under attack for not entirely embracing the new Germany, for her role as a government informer and for some of her political ideas. . . . The lessons one gleans from Drees’ book have broader implications than just Christa Wolf in that his conclusions apply in some measure to an entire generation of German writers brought up under similar circumstances. . . . This is an excellent piece of scholarship. . . “ – John Weinstock

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface: Identity, socialization and artistic expression
Foreword: The past as present
Introduction: “What is past is not dead; it is not even past”
1. “Do not be afraid,”
2. The quest for an authentic self
3. From Moskauer Novelle to geteilter Himmel
4. Nachdenken über Christa T.
5. She – You – I? Kindheitmuster and the difficult path from the third to the first person
6. Dreams and the limits of language and consciouness in Kindheitmuster
7. “Who speaks?” The emerging voice: Kein Ort. Nirgends
8. Finding a Voice in Kassandra and Störfall
Conclusion: Reaching self-acceptance with self-engaged fiction
Notes, Bibliography; Index

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