Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation

By Helen M. Cooper; Adrienne Auslander Munich et al. | Go to book overview

her own letter opposing Dehmel's call for volunteers. In 1941, at a time when she knew she did not have long to live, she discussed the line with her older son Hans and, as the diary records in December of that year, claimed it as her testament.

To illustrate this theme, which she had referred to at critical junctures of her life, she now for her last lithograph turned to motifs she had also used so often in the past and drew once again an angry, yet proud, physically powerful mother enclosing and protecting her children in her arms. If a context for the work is needed, she provided it in her journal, where in December 1941 she stressed that the lithograph was meant not only to encourage an end to all war, but to "demand" it.

Seeds for the Sowing in many ways provides a fitting summation for Kollwitz's life and beliefs. In contrast to the artist of the early graphic series, the artist of this final lithograph is the woman who had learned to place a higher value on life than on abstract and "lifeless" ideals; it is the work of a woman who had finally come to recognize that the social changes she longed for and worked for in her art could take place only in a nonviolent world. The "demand" of this work for an end to all war is also directly linked to the artist's long years as a diarist, for it was her writing which afforded her the opportunity to explore her changing beliefs and which then helped her find the courage and self-confidence to accept the consequences of those changes. When future biographies of Kollwitz are written, it is the artist of Seeds for the Sowing who should be remembered, the woman whose private intellectual struggles on the pages of her diary led her to active, even assertive, participation in the cause of a socially just, nonviolent world.


Notes

I would like to thank the Kollwitz family and Dr. Walter Huder, Director of the Kollwitz Archive in the Akademie der Künste in West Berlin, for permission to read the artist's largely unpublished, handwritten diary. I would also like to thank the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for funding to carry out the research. The translations from the diary and from other German sources are my own.

1.
Kaiser Wilhelm rejected her depictions of workers as "art of the gutter," but during the years of the Weimar Republic those works and others she created in that period were well known and highly regarded. Officially

-221-

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Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xix
  • War and Memory 1
  • Arms and the Woman: The Con[tra]ception of the War Text 9
  • Notes 23
  • Works Cited 23
  • "Still Wars and Lechery": Shakespeare and the Last Trojan Woman 25
  • Notes 39
  • Works Cited 40
  • Rewriting History: Madame de Villedieu and the Wars of Religion 43
  • Notes 55
  • Works Cited 57
  • Southern Women's Diaries of Sherman's March to the Sea, 1864-1865 59
  • Notes 75
  • Works Cited 77
  • Civil Wars and Sexual Territories 80
  • Notes 95
  • Works Cited 96
  • The Women and Men of 1914 97
  • Notes 118
  • Corpus/Corps/Corpse: Writing the Body in/at War 124
  • Notes 159
  • Works Cited 164
  • May Sinclair's The Tree of Heaven: The Vortex of Feminism, the Community of War 168
  • Notes 179
  • Works Cited 182
  • Combat Envy and Survivor Guilt: Willa Cather's "Manly Battle Yarn" 184
  • Notes 201
  • Works Cited 203
  • "Seeds for the Sowing": The Diary of Käthe Kollwitz 205
  • Notes 221
  • Works Cited 223
  • A Needle with Mama's Voice: Mitsuye Yamada's Camp Notes and the American Canon of War Poetry 225
  • Notes 241
  • Feminism, the Great War, and Modern Vegetarianism 244
  • Images of Love and War in Contemporary Israeli Fiction: A Feminist Re-vision 268
  • Notes 277
  • Works Cited 280
  • Nuclear Domesticity: Sequence and Survival 283
  • Notes 299
  • "Epitaphs and Epigraphs: 'The End(s) of Man'" 303
  • Notes 319
  • Works Cited 321
  • A Bibliography of Secondary Sources 323
  • The Contributors 331
  • Index 335
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