Christa Wolf

The last weeks of semester were so busy that I didn't have time to write about the death of Christa Wolf on December 1, 2011. An excellent obituary by Karen Leeder (Oxford) can be found at the following site:

I usually teach Wolf's Cassandra (1983) in my course on "Intertextuality," and will probably do so again this spring. The second, one-sentence paragraph of the narrative runs as follows: "Keeping step with the story, I make my way into death" (Jan van Heurck's translation; German: "Mit der Erzählung geh ich in den Tod"). With this sentence, the text pivots from an outside to an inside view of Cassandra as she thinks back over her life, which is soon to end. It will be strange to read this passage now that Wolf herself is no longer alive.

The identification with Cassandra that Wolf stages here has become so much more complicated since the narrative and its multi-generic appendices first appeared. There will be much to talk about in class.

Not unexpectedly, Wolf's diaries--evidently 150 of them between 1946 and 1999--will not be released for many years. A new edition of Divided Heaven (Der geteilte Himmel) on which Wolf was working at the time of her death, will be published sooner than originally planned.

For me, however, her most moving novel is Nachdenken über Christa T. (1968; The Quest for Christa T.). I think there is still much more to be said about it.








See also: Christa Wolf