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December 02, 2011


dz alexander

// Those East German writers who will be remembered in future generations will the ones who were expelled (Hilbig) or were silenced (Werner Bräunig, Peter Huchel). //

It would be convenient if the judgement of literary artists were to coincide with their politcal stands.
Fortunately, that isn't the case.
Celine will be read. So may will Christa Wolf [I'm not equipped to judge that]
A revew by Margaret Atwood.


Hilbig's reputation will grow not because of his politics, but because he was a great writer.

If you go back and read Christa Wolf's key books from the 1960's there is a moral tendentiousness which prevents them from being great literature. Her whole literary persona was wrapped up in being the "loyal dissident" and so needed the Berlin Wall - that monument to inhumanity - to thrive.

Still, I'm happy to be proven wrong, and intend to reread "Kindheitsmuster" - generally regarded as her best novel.

dz alexander

// Her whole literary persona was wrapped up in being the "loyal dissident" //

Well, OK. My favorable impression isn't based on a knowledge of her writing, except that I enjoyed "Ein Tag im Jahr".
Perhaps, also, I react negatively to the criticism that she wasn't sufficiently heroic to accept & write from a western view of her society, rather being "wrapped up in being a 'loyal dissident'"
One could say the same of George Orwell, [who also did a bit of reporting to authorities].


David, I'm glad you are going to read more of Christa Wolf's work. Reading her when I did, in the 80's, what I thought her work was mostly concerned with was feminism: issues in personal and work life as women experienced them in the former East Germany.

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