Academic journal article German Quarterly

Sinnsuche und Trauerarbeit. Funktionen von Schreiben in Irmtraud Morgners Werk

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Sinnsuche und Trauerarbeit. Funktionen von Schreiben in Irmtraud Morgners Werk

Article excerpt

Eidecker, Martina Elisabeth. Sinnsuche and Trauerarbeit. Funktionen von Schreiben in Irmtraud Morgners Werk. Germanistische Texte and Studien. Hildesheim: Olms, 1998. 256 pp. DM 49.80

This study of Irmtraud Morgner's ( 19331990) oeuvre recapitulates contents and interpretations of the works published during her lifetime, adds incrementally to extant commentaries and treats Morgner's literary estate as well. The book's superimposed "psychohistorical," theoretical framework under the concept of "Sinnsuche" is based on Heinz Kohut's writings on psychoanalysis and literature. Eidecker's own most significant contribution to the body of research on Morgner is the light she casts on the posthumously published novel Rumba auf einen Herbst, rejected by Aufbau in 1965. Essentially she deals with Morgner's themes and motifs, failing to achieve the scholarly sovereignty and perspective that the writing of this extraordinary author deserves. Unlike Thomas Mann and James Joyce to whom Walter Jens compared her, Morgner has not yet found her comprehensive interpreter.

Eidecker divides Morgner's oeuvre into five periods: (1) "Vom Ich zum Wir"-her first two socialist realism novels, 1959-1962; (2) "Brucke in der Harmonie"-the five books in which Morgner begins to find her own voice and perspective, i.e., humor and fantasy, in relation to the German Democratic Republic, 1964-1972; (3) "Im Land des Wunderbaren: Von der Utopie zur Ironie"-Leben and Abenteuer der Troubadora Beatriz,1973; (4) "Verwirrung. Verlustanzeige. Scheiternder Versuch der Neukonstruktion" Amanda. Ein. Hexenroman, 1984; (5) "Was bleibt?-Zum fragmentarischen NachlaB." Preceding each of the first four periods, a "Historischer Uberblick" summarizes familiar studies on the respective time spans. Indeed, summary is Eidecker's dominant approach to her chosen subject.

Whereas she occasionally takes a position on the quoted or synopsized texts, Eidecker more often leaves citations unlinked to any line of argument. Her own eponymous hypothesis is that Morgner's works fall into a model of "Trauerarbeit" formulated by "Bowlby" ( [16, 174], also spelled "Bowley" [209] and "Bolwby" [218]) but not further identified. However, despite her numerous sensitive insights, Eidecker fails to realize her claim to "analyze" Morgner's Gesamtwerk on the basis either of [John?] Bowlby's "drei Phasen" (17) or of her own four-phase (16) developmental paradigm derived from Freud and Kohut. …

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