Emancipation, Commitment and Responsibility: A Study of Christa Wolf's Writing

Rechtien, Renate A.. 1997. Emancipation, Commitment and Responsibility: A Study of Christa Wolf's Writing. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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This doctoral thesis examines the aspects of emancipation, commitment and responsibility in Christa Wolf’s writing. Adopting a variety of critical strategies as the means of rendering the complexity of the author's experience, the thesis approaches Wolf’s work as a complex network in which life and art are inextricably intertwined. The first part of the thesis focuses on the development of Wolfs understanding of the role and function of literature in society, with a particular emphasis on her development of the concept of responsibility from the early 1950s onwards. My examination positions Wolf’s literary work, including her essays, within the wider historical dimensions of her poetological and aesthetic development, showing the way in which the author liberates herself gradually from commitments which are no longer productive. The second part of the thesis exemplifies some of the distinctive features of the complex tapestry which Wolf’s work provides in three separate chapters. The first of these is Wolf’s relationship with Bertolt Brecht, which takes her back to her Marxist and communist roots and helps her to understand them more critically. The second of these is the Faust theme, which can also be traced through her work as a whole and can be linked in a wider sense to her gradual self-distancing from the cultural ideals of Weimar classicism which formed the original basis of GDR cultural policy. A third feature of the network is illuminated by an examination of images of men and women in Wolf’s writing, which shows the development of her feminist consciousness through the 1970s and 1980s. The final part of the thesis consists of a detailed textual analysis of some major aspects of Wolf’s Kassandra, which marks the culmination of her journey towards self-realization and emancipation as a writer.

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Thesis (Doctoral)

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Christa Wolf, emancipation, commitment, responsibility, lierature, society



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Date Deposited:

03 Jul 2020 15:09

Last Modified:

03 Jul 2020 15:10



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