This is a book-length chronological study in English of Christa Wolf's works. It traces the development and continuity of the writer's major themes and concerns against the backdrop of her constantly evolving relationship to Marxism, and documents the rise of her feminist consciousness. It does not, however, focus only on political and feminist issues, but addresses all facets of Wolf's identity by showing how her works reflect her own self-understanding. Forced by the clash between her vision of a humane socialism and the practice of socialism she observed in the German Democratic Republic to reassess her role as a writer and critic, Wolf broke through to her unique style in The Quest for Christa T., a work initially repudiated in the GDR both for its unorthodox subject matter and for its unconventional form. Since then, Wolf has effectively challenged the restrictions placed on writers in the GDR by writing on topics such as the Nazi past (Patterns of Childhood), Romanticism (No Place on Earth), patriarchal attitudes in the GDR (Cassandra) and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (Störfall).
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: setting the context; 2. Beginnings: experimentation with Socialist Realist paradigms Moscow Novella and Divided Heaven; 3. Christa T.: the quest for self-actualization; 4. Patterns of Childhood: the confrontation with the self; 5. No Place on Earth: revision of the Romantic heritage; 6. Cassandra: myth, matriarchy, and the canon; 7. In lieu of a conclusion. Störfall: the destruction of utopia?