As the controversy surrounding the release of Uli Edel and Bernd Eichinger's 2008 feature film ‘The Baader Meinhof Complex’ demonstrates, West Germany's terrorist period, which reached its height in the ‘German autumn’ of 1977, is still a fascinating - and troubling - subject. One of the most provocative aspects, still today, is the high proportion of women involved in terrorism, most notoriously Ulrike Meinhof. That the film concentrates on the trajectory of Meinhof's life and mobilizes established and hence reassuring paradigms of femininity in its representation of her (as ‘mother’ and ‘hysterical woman’) suggests that the combination of women and violence is still threatening and that there is still mileage to be had from feminizing the discourse. The present study returns to the West German print media of the 1960s and 1970s and raises questions about the continuing preoccupation with this period. Looking at publications from the right-wing ‘Bild’ to the liberal ‘Der Spiegel’, it explores how violent women - not only terrorists but also others such as the convicted murderer and media femme fatale Vera Brühne - were represented in text and image. This is the first book to explore print-media representations of German terrorism from an explicitly gendered perspective, and one of very few books in English to address the period in Germany at all, despite steadily increasing interest in the UK and the US. Clare Bielby is Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Hull.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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