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PREFACE What does one do to celebrate a twentieth anniversary? For that is what the Women in German Yearbook is doing with this volume, its twentieth: celebrating a sizeable number of years of lively existence. This anniversary marks a moment in which the yearbook is approximately two-thirds as old as its parent organization, Women in German, which held its first formal meeting in 1976. The first Yearbook, edited by Marianne Burkhard and Edith Waldstein, appeared in 1985, with this clear statement in the editors' preface: "The Women in German Yearbook is a response to the growing interest in Women's Studies in German literature and culture, which has resulted in the need to disseminate relevant materials, studies, hypotheses and results" (v). Even at that early point, the broad nature of our concerns was made apparent . As the editors commented, [c]ertainly literary studies are a central concern, but at the same time we also feel the need to discuss notions about and attitudes toward women in contemporary society, so as to continue the all important reflection process and dialogue, which will, we hope, lead to a more accurate understanding of women's existence in all spheres of life (v). Back to the original question: how to celebrate the twentieth occasion of a yearbook dedicated to such aims, then as well as now? In the end, we answered by concluding that this is an occasion to look not only back, but also forward. Accordingly, we have enlisted the aid of both a former editor and future president of WiG and the current president of WiG; we have assembled a group of pieces that present current feminist scholarship on the creative work of a number of German writers both present and past; we have asked a historian to provide us with a piece that in its central focus deals with an issue of concern to literary scholars as well; we have begun what we hope can be an ongoing practice of sharing the recent work of German scholars, in this case a literary scholar and a sociologist; and we editors have put down some of our own thoughts on the Yearbook, on WiG, and on our individual relationship to both journal and organization. We are, in other words, ? Women in German Yearbook 20 following past practices and at the same time, contemplating how the Yearbook might look in years to come. The current volume begins with "Yellowed Pages, Virtual Realities : Publication in Women in German's Past, Present, and Future," a series of observations by Jeanette Clausen, coeditor of the Women in German Yearbook between 1987 and 1994 and the upcoming president of WiG, and Jeannine Blackwell, current president of WiG. Given that both of them are long-term and very active members of the organization , it struck the editors that they could comment knowledgeably on the history of WiG and its Yearbook, but also—as continuing, engaged members—on possible directions in which the journal might go as it moves beyond its first two decades. Their response to our request is therefore full of memories, reflections, and ruminations about what might happen: as expected, their take is both provocative and rich in ideas. What better way could there be to introduce this twentieth volume than to present an exchange that will, we hope, stimulate additional exchanges among WiG members? In volume 19 of the Yearbook, we complained in the preface about the fact that none of the articles concerned pre-twentieth-century literature and culture. The response to that complaint is ample in the current volume: four of the six pieces that discuss literary and cultural questions focus on writings and cultural issues of periods before 1900. Two of those, in fact, delve back into the Germanic and early modern eras. Carol Parrish Jamison's topic may employ a phrase from a wellknown 1975 article by the American anthropologist Gayle Rubin, but she uses that phrase to describe a topic in early Germanic literature. "Traffic of Women in Germanic Literature: The Role of the Peace Pledge in Marital Exchanges" examines several Germanic texts that treat the issue of so-called peace pledges, women of higher ranks who were married off...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2578-5192
Print ISSN
2578-5206
Pages
pp. ix-xv
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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