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By Brigid Haines

Brigid Haines and Margaret Littler draw at the most up-to-date advancements in feminist conception to discover modern German girls writers' representations of woman subjectivity. Bridging the distance among serious thought and women's writing in German, this ebook offers in-depth, totally contextualized readings of six key texts.

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Extra info for Contemporary Women's Writing in German: Changing the Subject (Oxford Studies in Modern European Culture)

Sample text

Only gradually does she understand that her husband’s medical studies in the early 1930s had been paid for by Johannes, who was later interned as a homosexual in a concentration camp during the war. While Leo uses his cousin’s experience in his research into the psychological 48 49 50 ‘she suppressed her first realization’ (S 287). This implies further that Franziska, also, is afraid of Leo. ‘she . . broke into her small savings account, which they had agreed should be her iron reserve for any emergency, which would hopefully never happen and would in any case have to be a small emergency’ (S 288).

The old woman hears imaginary dogs barking, which Franziska notices is not just a sign of senility, but is related to a history of neglect and cruelty by her son. Leo had forced her to get rid of a dog, Nuri, her only companion, because it took a violent dislike to him, and she lives in fear that he will put her in an old people’s home. Franziska takes over responsibility for visiting the old woman in order to relieve her husband of a burden, but is increasingly unable to suppress the knowledge of his professional opportunism and cruelty to his mother.

They have no insight, even at the end, into the causes of their own predicament, so hoodwinked are they by patriarchal capitalist ideology. Furthermore, the cold and mocking narrative tone seems designed positively to repel and alienate the reader. Finally, the ending is bleak 40 Elfriede Jelinek, Die Liebhaberinnen (1975) in the extreme: Brigitte realizes her goals but is doomed to a loveless marriage and a life of labour, while Paula loses her children and ends up where Brigitte began, on the production line at the factory producing women’s lingerie, that powerful symbol of patriarchal society’s unbending will to shape women to its designs.

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