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Rereading Monika Maron

Text, Counter-Text and Context


Deidre Byrnes

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the writing of Monika Maron. Her biography charts a complex relationship with the GDR state, from initial ideological identification to sustained, radical rejection. Situating its reflections on her work against the backdrop of a changing critical landscape, this analysis takes account of the re-contextualisation of her writing necessitated by the collapse of the GDR.
The author charts the development of a number of seminal themes in Maron’s œuvre. The search for an authentic form of expression in her earliest texts gave way to a focus on the writing and the rewriting of history. The demise of the political system in 1989 led to an exploration in her work of more intimate themes. Maron’s post- Wende writing makes an important East German contribution to debates on memory transmission and generational forgetting. Her most recent novels are concerned with the rupture and the ultimate refashioning of biographies in a post-GDR age.
Rereading her texts in a post- Wende light, the author explores the complexity of Maron’s relationship with the state from which she emerged and demonstrates how this complexity manifests itself in her writing before and after 1989. This study offers new perspectives on Maron’s work and illuminates the significance of her contribution to contemporary German literature.


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Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 Chapter One Writing Herself out of the System: The Early Texts 17 Chapter Two Transgressing in Style: Das Mißverständnis and Die Überläuferin as Counter-Texts 43 Chapter Three Writing and Rewriting: The Problem of History in Stille Zeile Sechs 63 Chapter Four Love and Loss after the Wall: Animal triste 97 Chapter Five Exposing the Gaps in Memory: Forgetting and Remembering in Pawels Briefe 117 Chapter Six Lebensentwürfe, Zeitenbrüche: Biographers and Biographies in Endmoränen and Ach Glück 149 Conclusion 175 Bibliography 181 Index 191

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