Christa Wolf

Christa Wolf (krēs´tä vôlf), 1929–2011, German novelist. After attending the universities of Jena and Leipzig, she worked as an editor of literary journals. A committed communist in her early life, she won the approval of the East German government with her novel Divided Heaven (1963, tr. 1965). Her semiautobiographical novel, The Quest for Christa T. (1968, tr. 1972), which was critical of East German society and ideals, earned her criticism at home but a reputation as a complex writer abroad. Many of her novels, including No Place on Earth (1979, tr. 1982), mixed fact and fiction as they affirmed the needs of individuals, particularly women, in East Germany's destructive society. Her claim to the moral high ground was undermined in the early 1990s when it was revealed that she had been a secret police informant from 1959 to 1962, but she maintained she had revealed nothing of use. Wolf's other writings include Cassandra (1983, tr. 1984), A Model Childhood (1977, tr. 1980), What Remains and Other Stories (1980, tr. 1993), The Author's Dimension: Selected Essays (tr. 1993), Medea (1996, tr. 1998), and the autobiographical novel City of Angels (2010, tr. 2013), her final work, in which she attempts to come to terms with her East German past.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Myth of the Heroine: The Female Bildungsroman in the Twentieth Century: Dorothy Richardson, Simone de Beauvoir, Doris Lessing, Christa Wolf
Esther Kleinbord Labovitz.
Peter Lang, 1988 (2nd edition)
Contemporary Women's Writing in German: Changing the Subject
Brigid Haines; Margaret Littler.
Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Christa Wolf, Kassandra (1983)"
Narrative and Fantasy in the Post-War German Novel: A Study of Novels by Johnson, Frisch, Wolf, Becker, and Grass
Chloe E. M. Paver.
Oxford University, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Christa Wolf: Nachdenken uber Christa T."
Woman's Heterosexual Experience in Christa Wolf's Kassandra: A Critique of GDR Feminism
Cormican, Muriel.
Philological Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 1, Winter 2002
Post-War Women's Writing in German: Feminist Critical Approaches
Chris Weedon.
Berghahn Books, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Twelve "Reading Christa Wolf"
Women's Vision in Western Literature: The Empathic Community
Laurence M. Porter.
Praeger, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Seven "Christa Wolf, Citizen of the World"
Women Writers and Fascism: Reconstructing History
Marie-Luise Gättens.
University Press of Florida, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Women's History as Archaeological Work: Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood"
Other Germanies: Questioning Identity in Women's Literature and Art
Karen Jankowsky; Carla Love.
State University of New York Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Patterns of Self-Destruction: Christa Wolf's What Remains and Monika Maron's Flight of Ashes" begins on p. 248
Loyal Dissidents and Stasi Poets: Sascha Anderson, Christa Wolf, and the Incomplete Project of GDR Research
Hell, Julia.
German Politics and Society, Vol. 20, No. 4, Winter 2002
Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography
Linda Haverty Rugg.
University of Chicago Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "The Lost Photo Album of Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood" begins on p. 189
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