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PREFACE One of the highlights of the annual Women in German Conferences has always been the opportunity to interact both personally and professionally with our invited guests. It has long been a tradition to include contributions from these guests in our yearbook, either revisions of their conference presentations or, in the case of authors and filmmakers, original work. Proudly we look back on recent volumes that include pieces by women writers, performers, and scholars from both Germanies and from Austria, contributions by both American and German filmmakers, articles by German feminist publishers, and a speech by a prize-winning author, herself a member of WIG. The 1995 conference was organized around the issue of cross-disciplinary work and brought noted scholars from three cognate disciplines to meet with Women in German members in St. Augustine, Florida. We asked Sara Lennox, one of the conference planners, to introduce their yearbook contributions with a theoretical overview of the issues involved in cross-disciplinary work and to draw some conclusions from their articles for feminist work in German Studies. Her introduction is followed by expanded versions of the conference papers presented by the three invited scholars: historian Atina Grossmann, sociologist Myra Marx Ferree, and political theorist Joan Cocks. The three subsequent articles offer new perspectives on nineteenth-century literature and culture. Todd Kontje argues that, despite the return to conservative values in many areas of cultural and political life following the German Wars of Liberation, writers did not necessarily revert to normative sex-roles in their writing. Through an examination of Theodor Körner's patriotic poetry and selected novels by Caroline de la Motte Fouqué and Henriette Frölich, he demonstrates that the questioning of conventional gender roles that began with the French Revolution continued well into the Biedermeier period. Rereading the father-daughter relationship in Kleist's The Marquise of 0..., Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff draws on comparisons with the tableax vivants and theater of Kleist's day to underscore the erotic component of the work. The scandalous hints of incest in the father-daughter relationship are read as a Kleistian parody of bourgeois expectations. Helen G. Morris-Keitel analyzes heterosexual relations in Louise Otto's Castle and Factory. She argues that by granting success only to the one relationship that moves toward genuine partnership, Otto hints at the cultural changes upon which realization of her ideals will depend. This questioning of society is continued by Barbara Hales, who identifies in various cultural products of the Weimar era a connection between female sexuality and criminality. This preoccupation with the criminal femme fatale, she argues, x Women in German Yearbook 12 exposes a widespread uneasiness with modernity in general. In her comparison of the poetry of Nelly Sachs and Rose Ausländer, Kathrin Bower finds that despite many differences, both poets confronted the trauma of exile and the Holocaust through language. Both, she contends, used the poetic word to express the tensions between mourning and a form of hope represented by the (M)other. Ausländer is one of the women writers—along with Sarah Kirsch, Elisabeth Plessen, and Angelika Mechtel—whose works Charlotte Melin deals with in her analysis of the reworkings of the Alice in Wonderland motif. Comparing the versions of Alice in the works of these four women writers to those of male writers H.C. Artmann and Jürg Federspiel, she concludes that the protean character basic to all Alice variations is viewed by the female writers as essential to psychological well-being and by the male writers as indicative of a loss of identity. Feminists have often questioned the applicability of the Frankfurt School's cultural criticism for their work. Helgard Mahrdt addresses this still open question with an analysis of the private and public spheres that connects Ingeborg Bachmann 's work to the Frankfurt School's critique and at the same time provides avenues for understanding the importance of gender throughout her ouevre. Following this contribution on one of the icons of feminist readers and scholars, the next article takes up the life and work of a living, and far more controversial writer: Frederick A. Lubich offers an interview with Elisabeth Alexander, whose approach...

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Additional Information

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