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Irmtraud Morgner: Adventures in Knowledge, 1959-1974

Adventures in Knowledge, 1959-1974

Geoffrey Plow

This new assessment of the literary development of Irmtraud Morgner (1933-1990) liberates her from a critical straitjacket that has seen her early and middle-period works as essentially constrained and thwarted by state prescriptions. The author demonstrates that Morgner always had an organically evolving literary programme of her own. He uncovers a writer with a vision of ideology and democracy as humanised, intimate and personal. Morgner’s diaries are called upon to demonstrate how she rechannelled into her later work material that had been banned by the censor. Morgner emerges as a figure whose work is deeply pertinent to our twenty-first-century preoccupations, be they in the West or East. The author advances powerful arguments for the value of six of her novels as key illustrations of her trust in the individual’s capacity to give meaning to life without recourse to established ideological structures.
Contents: Writer-Reader Communication – Narratives of Self-Discovery – Adventures in Knowledge – Die Wundersamen Reisen as an Introduction to Adventures in Knowledge – Das Signal steht auf Fahrt and its Curtailed Narratives on the Past, on Women and on Narrative – Ein Haus am Rand der Stadt and the seeds of a new technique, beyond socialist realism – Rumba auf einen Herbst: Taking the Reader Beyond ‘Geschichten mit Schluß’Hochzeit in Konstantinopel: The Lover Unheeded, the Reader Empowered – Trobadora Beatriz: ‘Die Phantasie des Einzelnen’.