Women's Words, Women's Works: An Anthology of Contemporary Austrian Plays by Women

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Udo H. G. Borgert
Ariadne Press, 2001 - Drama - 264 pages
This is the first anthology in English devoted entirely to contemporary Austrian drama written by women. The selection begins with Clara S. (A Musical Tragedy) by the B chner-prize winning Elfriede Jelinek, which examines the female artist's existence in a society where artistic genius is coded male and women are relegated to subordinate positions. Gerlinde Obermeir's San Francisco of Course is a series of short episodes depicting the fate of a woman whose world collapses in the face of brutal, norm-setting patriarchal oppression. Marlene Streeruwitz's New York. New York. is a mixture of tragedy, comedy and farce, a collage of highly choreographed everyday and surreal scenes, quotations and filmic and acoustic elements highlighting the tran-historical continuation of the exploitative patterns inherent in social structures, in which men possess and exert all the power. Michaela Ronzoni's 610 Bedford Drive -- I'm an American centres on a lengthy and bitter dispute between the culturally refined European thinker and writer Franz Werfel and the brash and impatient American dramatist Clifford Odets. Finally Margret Kreidl's Grateful Women (A Comedy) is like a prose-poem in which the three female characters act out a set of female rituals, interspersed with memories, fantasies, crises and unresolved desires. At times conventional, at times experimental, the selected plays provide a representative overview of the variety and diversity of women's drama in Austria from the early eighties to the present.

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Translated by Ken Moulden

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