Rifts in Time and in the Self: The Female Subject in Two Generations of East German Women Writers
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 marked the end of East Germany's socialist regime and a new beginning for a unified German Federal Republic. Cultural historians agree that the event caused one of the deepest rifts in time and thinking seen by an entire generation of Germans--a rift that left its mark on the psyche of every citizen, challenging notions of the personal and the political, and crashing traditional understandings of the individual and the collective self. In this bold rethinking of the question, Cheryl Dueck goes beyond the social, political, and psychological discourses that Marx and Freud, Foucault and Lacan viewed as the initiators of modern (socialist) identities to explore the literature and discourse of the quest for unity of the female subject. Reading such authors as Christa Wolf, Brigitte Reimann, Helga Konigsdorf, and Helga Schubert, Dueck traces the striking fissures which run through time and through the female self, haunting women within the socialist project. The book shows how two generations of women writers have struggled consciously and systematically in their letters, aesthetic writings, and literary production to create a new language to express their own sense of self within a restrictive socialist and patriarchal system. Rifts in Time and in the Self offers an unprecedented look at the reconceptualizations of the female subject during several phases of GDR history, and women writers' persistent attempt to carve out spaces of identity and community.
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