Women's Writing and Historiography in the GDR

Synopsis

This study adopts an interdisciplinary approach to explore how literature by GDR women became a forum for critical approaches to history which challenged the official state discourse. An introductory chapter offers broad theoretical reflections on the modes of literature and historiography,and considers the significance of feminism as a tabooed critical discourse in the GDR. The question of why GDR literature and histororiography developed so differently in the 1970s and 1980s is then pursued through a series of comparative readings of texts by both prominent writers, such as ChristaWolf, Irmtraud Morgner, and Helga Konigsdorf, and less established authors, such as Helga Schutz, Sigrid Damm, Renate Feyl, and Brigitte Struzyk. This is not only the first study to offer a detailed comparison of historical and literary discourses in the GDR, but also the first to illuminate relations between three topics popular in East German women's writing: the National Socialist past; the lives of historical women; and the use ofmythical themes and forms to voice critiques of history.