The Challenge of Mütterliteratur: Gender, Generation, and the Genres of German Cultural Memory

TitleThe Challenge of Mütterliteratur: Gender, Generation, and the Genres of German Cultural Memory
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsByram, Katra A.
JournalGerman Studies Review
Volume41
Issue1
Pagination41-59
Date Published2018
Abstract

Current models of German postwar memory culture often contrast an accusatory second-generation Väterliteratur with a more self-reflexive third-generation family writing. This article demonstrates that reading second-generation books about mothers in the context of historical cultural memory undermines this distinction. Ingeborg Drewitz’s Gestern war heute (1978), Barbara Bronnen’s Die Tochter (1982), and Helga Novak’s Die Eisheiligen (1979) share key features with the post-Wende “new family novel” typified in recent scholarship. These similarities suggest that changing enactments of gender and cultural memory have allowed previously feminized experiences and memory practices to evolve into the basis for a national memory culture. [Author]

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