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Revolting Families

Revolting Families: Toxic Intimacy, Private Politics, and Literary Realisms in the German Sixties

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 216
  • Book Info
    Revolting Families
    Book Description:

    Revolting Familiesplaces the literary depiction of familial and intimate relations in 1960s West Germany against the backdrop of public discourse on the political significance of the private sphere.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6553-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: On Realism, Negativity, and Intimacy
    (pp. 3-32)

    This study is located at the crossroads of the normative 1950s and the radical 1960s and early 1970s in West Germany. It looks backwards and forwards from the vantage point of 1968, the year that functions as a milestone for the coming-into-being of a socially and politically motivated cultural consciousness.² It discusses texts that are a product of the earlier part of the decade, but it does so with the social and political awareness of the end of the decade in mind. In line with historian Martin Klimke’s claim that 1968 is now being understood as a “social departure that...

  5. Chapter One Trauma, Neurosis, and the Postwar Family: Dieter Wellershoffʹs Politics of Reading
    (pp. 33-62)

    The writer Dieter Wellershoff was, in his function as the editor for publishing house Kiepenheuer & Witsch from 1959 to 1981 and as founder of New Realism, also always a professional reader.¹ Conversely, his work as editor, as professional reader, inspired him to write on the subject of writing, a move that occurred parallel to his own literary production. In the 1960s alone, Wellershoff published numerous essays on literature, edited two volumes of short stories by new German authors, and wrote two novels, all the while introducing new authors to the West German reading public. Bernd Happekotte notes in his study...

  6. Chapter Two Repression, Disgust, and Adolescent Memories: Rolf Dieter Brinkmannʹs Ethics of Textual Freedom
    (pp. 63-95)

    Rolf Dieter Brinkmann’s photo appeared alongside Wellershoff’s essay “Neuer Realismus” in Kiepenheuer & Witsch’s in-house magazineDie Kiepe, visually and conceptually aligning him with the new trend in German literature that Dieter Wellershoff identified and theorized in the mid-1960s.¹ Brinkmann traversed a number of literary phases in his short career. The first phase of his work, up to 1966, can be roughly aligned with Wellershoff’s New Realism.² The second phase of writing, stretching from 1967 to about 1970, displays Brinkmann’s emerging pop and postmodern sensibilities.³ The final phase, which saw many texts produced that were published posthumously after his death in...

  7. Chapter Three Consumption, Vertigo, and Childhood Visions: Gisela Elsnerʹs Grotesque Repetitions as Resistance
    (pp. 96-127)

    A glance at feuilletons of the 1960s provides the impression that a horde of beautifully horrific female authors had infiltrated the West German literary scene. Authors such as Gisela Elsner, Renate Rasp, Helga Novak, and Barbara Frischmuth were each criticized as “ungeratene Tochter deutscher Literatur” (German literature’s wayward daughter; “Wir” 198).¹ Klaus Jeziorkowski’s review in theFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungof Renate Rasp’s 1967 novelEin ungeratener Sohn(A Family Failure) exemplifies this:

    Was ist mit Deutschlands literarischen Frauen los? Nun, gottlob, der lesende Deutsche ist nicht mehr mit den Gretchen alleingelassen, nicht mehr nur verwiesen an die fruchtbaren Mütter mit...

  8. Chapter Four Discipline, Love, and Authoritative Child-Rearing: Renate Raspʹs Satire as Pedagogical Tool
    (pp. 128-160)

    Like Elsner, Renate Rasp was one of the “Spezialistinnen des Bösen” (female specialists of evil), gracing the literary market with her darkly humorous texts.¹ Rasp made her debut in 1967 with a reading of her poetry at the Gruppe 47 meeting at which Günter Grass reportedly exclaimed: “Sie drucken uns nicht, sieschreibenuns an die Wand, die Frauen” (These women are not pushing us, they arewritingus against the wall; qtd. in Bender 180, emphasis in orig.). In that same year, Wellershoff commissioned a short story of Rasp that was published in the follow-up volume toEin Tag...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 161-166)

    Since the publication of Renate Rasp’sEin ungeratener Sohnin November 1967, the phrase the “private is political” has become commonplace, in part perhaps because of its association with the seeming universality of 1968 social transformations. The two parts of the once-provocative battle cry are now often inseparable, and appear even as a tautology. However, if the private is always by default political, then the repression, inequalities, violence, or psychological damage occurring in the private sphere that have public consequences might go unquestioned. The public infiltration and control of the private, moreover, could be overlooked for its effect on individual...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 167-178)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 179-194)
  12. Index
    (pp. 195-204)