Libuse's Success and Francine's Bitterness: Libuse Moníková and Her Protagonist in Pavane für eine verstorbene Infantin
JOZEF A. MODZELEWSKI
"There are so many crippens in Germany! How is it possible?" 1
Libuse Moníková was born in 1945 in Prague, where she earned a doctorate in German and English philology. In 1971 Moníková left Czechoslovakia for West Germany and became an instructor of German and comparative literature in Göttingen, Kassel, and Bremen. Moníková's research focuses on Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Arno Schmidt, and Stanislaw Lem. In 1980 she began writing fiction, and to date she has published three texts: in 1981, her first short story "Eine Schädigung"; in 1983 the text Pavane für eine verstorbene Infantin, and in 1987, the novel Die Fassade, for which she received the prestigious Alfred Düblin Prize, founded by Günter Grass. During his laudatory speech, Friedrich Christian Delius characterized Moníková's novel as "gelungenen Ausreiäversuch aus dem trUMoníkováägen ichbesoffenen Hauptfeld der Literatur" ["successful attempt to break away from the dull, I-intoxicated, main field of literature"]. 2 In 1991 Moníková was awarded the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize (Bayerische Akademie der Schünen Könste/Institut für Deutsch als Fremdsprache, University of Munich). In Eine Schädigung and Die Fassade the author takes up typical Czech motifs. Pavane für eine verstorbene Infantin offers not only Slavic themes but also an intriguing insight into West German society, providing numerous observations about everyday life. The text forms an interesting and sharp commentary written by an outsider, a newcomer, who meanwhile has established herself as a renowned, challenging, and widely read and discussed contemporary author of German literature.
"Mein Leben ist eine Abfolge von Literatur- und Filmszenen, willkürliche Zitate, die ich nicht immer gleich anordnen kann" (18) ["My life is a sequel