Facing Fascism and Confronting the Past

German Women Writers from Weimar to the Present

Edited by Elke P. Frederiksen & Martha Kaarsberg Wallach

Subjects: Literary Criticism
Paperback : 9780791445808, 344 pages, June 2000
Hardcover : 9780791445792, 344 pages, June 2000

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


Elke P. Frederiksen and Martha Kaarsberg Wallacch

Part I. Experiencing the Holocaust

1. Growing Up in the Eye of the Firestorm: A Jewish Childhood under the Nazis
Ruth Kluger

Part II. From Weimar to National Socialism

2. The Primitive and the Modern: Gottfried Benna and Else Lasker-Schüler
Gisela Brinker-Gabler

3. "This Number Is Not in Service:" Destabilizing Identities in Irmgard Keun's Novels from Weimar and Exile
Ritta Jo Horsley

4. Victims or Perpetrators? Literary Responces to Women's Roles in National Socialism
Elaine Martin

Part III. Individual Women's Voices against Fascism

5. Literary Antifascim: Anna Seghers's Exile Writings 1936 to1949
Gertraud Gutzmann

6. Turning the Gaze Inward: Gertrud Kolmar's Briefe an die Schwester Hilde 1938-1943
Monika Shafi

7. Reconstructing Mother--The Myth and the Real: Autobiographical Texts by Elisabeth Langgässer and Cordelia Edvardson
Helga Kraft

8. At Home in Exile--Nelly Sachs: Flight and Metamorphosis
Ruth Dinesen

Part IV. Exile and the Holocaust

9. Echoes of Exile: The Literary Response to the Exiles by American Women Writers
Guy Stern

10. The Interchange between Experience and Literature: German-Jewish Women Writers of the Holocaust
Dagmar C. G. Lorenz

Part V. Women's Voices after 1945

11. Luise Rinser: Dialogues with the Past? The Problem of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (Coming to Terms with the Past)
Elke P. Frederiksen

12. Ingeborg Drewitz: Three Generations of Women Respond to Fascism
Margaret E. Ward

13. Fact, Fantasy, and Female Subjectivity: Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood
Robert C. Holub

14. Grete Weil: A Jewish Antigone
Elke Liebs

15. Gender, Film, and German History: Filmmaking by German Women Directors from Weimar to the Present
Richard W. McCormick

Part VI. German Women after Unification (1989)

16. A Look at the Current Situation of Women in Germany
Renate Möhrmann

Part VII. Conclusion

17. New Scholarly Perspectives
Sara Lennox

Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors

Examines German women's literary and cultural representations of the Nazi era.


Spanning almost the entire twentieth century, from the 1920s to the 1990s, this book gives voice to both Jewish and non-Jewish women writers from German-speaking countries who were silenced during the Nazi years. Discussions on gender, patriarchy, and fascism are brought to bear on the works of Nelly Sachs, Anna Seghers, Elisabeth Langgässer, Ingeborg Drewitz, Luise Rinser, Grete Weil, Christa Wolf, and others. The book also includes an autobiographical account of a Holocaust survivor's experience. In light of recent political events in Europe, this book is particularly relevant.

Contributors include Gisela Brinker-Gabler, Ruth Dinesen, Elke P. Frederiksen, Gertraud Gutzmann, Robert Holub, Ritta Jo Horsley, Ruth Kluger, Helga Kraft, Sara Lennox, Elke Liebs, Dagmar Lorenz, Elaine Martin, Richard McCormick, Renate Möhrmann, Monika Shafi, Guy Stern, and Margaret Ward.

Elke P. Frederiksen is Professor of German Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the coeditor, with Elizabeth Ametsbichler, of Women Writers in German-Speaking Countries and is author of Women Writers of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland: An Annotated Bio-Bibliographical Guide. Martha Kaarsberg Wallach is Professor of German and Chair of the Modern Language Department at Central Connecticut State University.


"By dealing with the issues of representation, gender, and fascism and carefully analyzing their interrelationship with regards to well-known and hardly known attempts by women to deal with unprecedented experiences, the ensuing moral dilemmas, and the concomitant difficulties of expression/representation, this volume adds considerably to continuing and continuously necessary investigations into 'The Past. '" — Monatshefte

"This book brings together many different voices of women writers, who had radically different experiences with National Socialism, which is reflected in the diversity of their literary works. The editors document not only the complexity of experiences of women under National Socialism, but also the complex questions this era poses for scholars. The book presents the depth and range of scholarship in the field of women writers and fascism and acquaints the reader with many of the important feminist scholars working in this field. " — Marie-Luise Gaettens, Southern Methodist University

"This book focuses on an important and highly neglected area of research, and thus responds to a real need. It advances the discussion on the role of German women before, during, and after fascism, providing information and raising issues for further discussion. " — Sabine I. Golz, author of The Split Scene of Reading: Nietzsche/Derrida/Kafka/Bachmann