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Momentary Peace

An examination of the Catholic references in the works of Gertrud Leutenegger

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Diana Leeder

Momentary Peace: an examination of the Catholic references in the works of Gertrud Leutenegger examines the way Catholic images, allusions and references are used by Gertrud Leutenegger, a contemporary Swiss writer, in expressing engagement with her faith, a theme developed from text to text over the period of 1975–2004. Two main religious themes run through the selected texts Vorabend, Ninive, Kontinent, Meduse, Acheron, Sphärenklang and Pomona – rejection of the institutionalised Church and the search for a female expression of Catholicism to counter a male dominated Church. Leutenegger’s use of motifs and symbols drawn from Bible stories, myths and legends and a range of other intertextual references is discussed. A tension between the strong image of Mary as nurturer of the infant Christ and the secondary role allocated to women by the Church links the two dominant religious themes in Leutenegger’s works. The idea of flight from danger to a point of safety and the moments of peace that occur along the way, as the metaphorical framework in which spiritual awareness is developed, is identified as common to each work.