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Parting from Phantoms Selected Writings, 1990-1994 cover
  • ISBN: 9780226904962
  • ISBN10: 0226904962

Parting from Phantoms Selected Writings, 1990-1994

by Christa Wolf

  • List Price: $27.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/1997
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Description
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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