Post-War Women's Writing in German: Feminist Critical Approaches

Post-War Women's Writing in German: Feminist Critical Approaches

Post-War Women's Writing in German: Feminist Critical Approaches

Post-War Women's Writing in German: Feminist Critical Approaches

Synopsis

Women in the Federal Republic, the former GDR, Switzerland and Austria have initiated a remarkable literary movement, especially after 1968, which is also attracting growing attention elsewhere. Informed by critical feminist and literary theory, this broad-ranging collection, the first of its kind, examines the history of these writings in the context of the social and political developments in the respective countries. It combines survey chapters with detailed studies of prominent authors whose work is often unavailable in English.

Excerpt

This book offers the first broad-ranging study of contemporary women's writing in German in the context of wider literary developments. It combines a number of overview chapters with more detailed readings of individual authors. It outlines the development of women's writing in the four major German-speaking countries in the post-war period. Writers are located in relation to the social position of women and developments in gender politics. In the more detailed studies of individual authors, the book presents readings of selected texts informed by current debates in critical theory. These debates themselves are presented to the reader in chapter 2.

Certain key themes are addressed throughout the book. We ask what Frauenliteratur (women's writing) as a concept signifies in the different countries and how this relates to issues raised by recent feminist criticism. Central here is the question of whether it is possible to identify a specifically 'female' or 'feminine' aesthetic and what this might mean. Thus we look at the degree to which we can talk of common issues, themes, literary forms and use of language in the work of women writers.

This book was conceived during my time as Alexander-vonHumboldt fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin. I am very grateful to the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung in Bonn for its support. I should also like to thank contributors and translators and particularly Franziska Meyer and Helmut Peitsch for their generous help with the final stages of the book.

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