Visiting the hometown, revisiting the past

Christa Wolf's Kindheitsmuster

Brangwen Stone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent German debates about remembering World War II have raised the question of whether German suffering can be remembered without obliterating or diminishing memory of the suffering of the victims of German atrocities. Christa Wolf's narrator already explicitly asked this question in Wolf's 1976 novel Kindheitsmuster. In Kindheitsmuster the narrator's return journey from the GDR to her former hometown in present-day Poland raises memories of the Nazi era and of her and her family's flight westwards at the end of the war. The article begins by introducing the structure of the novel and outlining the importance of memory in the novel before turning to some of the themes associated with the flight and the return to the former home. Exploring Heimat and Heimweh, the depiction of the flight, and the narrator's attempt to archive the past, the article canvasses how the loss of, and mourning for, the former home is balanced with German culpability in Kindheitsmuster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-609
Number of pages17
JournalNeophilologus
Volume96
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

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