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Parting from phantoms : selected writings, 1990-1994

Author: Christa Wolf; Jan van Heurck
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
These essays, diary entries, and letters document four agonizing years in the personal history of German writer Christa Wolf, and paint a vivid portrait of the present cultural and political situation in the former German Democratic Republic.
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Genre/Form: Translations
Translations into English
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Christa Wolf; Jan van Heurck
ISBN: 0226904962 9780226904962
OCLC Number: 36629920
Description: xii, 315 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: Self-indictment --
The language of the turning point --
Momentary interruption --
A German you can contradict : Hans Mayer --
Whatever happened to your smile? Wasteland Berlin 1990 --
Rummelplatz, the eleventh plenum of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party, 1965 : a report from memory --
Two letters : I. To an Academy ; II. To Wolfgang Thierse --
"The truth of our tongues" : the stories of Grace Paley --
Woserin, Friday, September 27, 1991 --
Cancer and society --
The leftover baggage of German history : correspondence with Jurgen Habermas --
Trial by nail. (Cont'd) On the road to Tabou : Paul Parin --
Clinical findings --
The multiple being inside us : correspondence with Efim Etkind --
Mood fit --
Caught talking : Otl Aicher --
The faces of Anna Seghers : a picture book --
Santa Monica, Sunday, September 27, 1992 --
"Free, ordered, inconsolable" : to Heinrich Boll on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday --
Hours of weakness, hours of strength : correspondence with Gunter Grass --
One's own contradictory life : Volker and Anne Braun to Christa Wolf --
Reply to a letter from Volker Braun --
Berlin, Monday, September 17, 1993 --
Insisting on myself : Christa Wolf in conversation with Gunter Gaus --
The symbols of Nuria Quevedo --
Parting from phantoms : on Germany.
Other Titles: Auf dem Weg nach Tabou.
Responsibility: Christa Wolf ; translated and annotated by Jan van Heurck.
More information:

Abstract:

These essays, diary entries, and letters document four agonizing years in the personal history of German writer Christa Wolf, and paint a vivid portrait of the present cultural and political situation in the former German Democratic Republic.

The most prominent writer of the German Democratic Republic and its most famous cultural export, Wolf was called East Germany's "Mother Confessor" and treated by the West German press as emblematic of GDR intellectuals. After reunification, Wolf published a novella titled What Remains, which was bitterly attacked by the press as a belated attempt to establish herself as a victim of the Stasi (the GDR's secret police). The criticism discredited Wolf as a cultural hero in the eyes of many Germans and plunged her into a deep personal crisis. Parting from Phantoms shows Wolf coming to terms with her ambiguous past and an unforgiving present.

In a review of the German edition of "Parting from Phantoms", the Vienna Volksstimme wrote that "Wolf's personal crisis ... stands in the closest relation to the social crisis in her country", and that this book "reflects the larger social distress from the point of view of an exemplary victim". Among the most compelling writings gathered here are discourses with Jurgen Habermas and Gunter Grass, a series of diary entries, and a critical account of Berlin one year after unification titled "Whatever Happened to Your Smile: Wasteland Berlin 1990". In addition, Wolf defends herself from the extraordinary media campaign waged against her in Germany since 1990. The truth about the GDR, she argues, is to be found in its literature, not in the security files so eagerly used to discredit the GDR's culture.

"Partingfrom Phantoms" will be indispensable reading for those who have come to know Christa Wolf through The Quest for Christa T., Cassandra, and her many other books. The collection stands as an important testimony to the personal and cultural costs of German reunification.

"This is a wonderful personal account of the days that made history in Berlin 1989, a book of self-investigation and subtle attack against the self-righteousness of the victors. Even where I disagreed I couldn't stop reading. A great book of a great German author". -- Peter Schneider, Author of the Wall Jumper and Coupling.

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