Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This article is taken from PN Review 54, Volume 13 Number 4, March - April 1987.

Christa Wolf's Resistance Mark Thompson

The Great Powers could annihilate each other more than a dozen times over. And so on. We laugh, slightly embarrassed. 'Normal feelings' are numbed by such statistics. Indignation, revolt, would be inappropriate. The aesthetic of resistance to it all has yet to be developed.
- Cassandra

Whether or not serious fiction writers can explicitly address a large public on the most important public themes and obtain a hearing, must depend in part on the degree to which people feel that government represents their interests and deserves their respect. Given the totalitarianism in the Warsaw Pact nations, it is clear that there are sound reasons why, as Timothy Garton-Ash recently put it, 'writers in Central and Eastern Europe are moral and political authorities in a way that no writer has been in England since Orwell and Bertrand Russell.' In West Germany too this sort of authority seems taken for granted, for film-makers as well as writers. Is there even one serious writer in the post-war period who has not investigated the state-fostered amnesia regarding Fascism and its ascent, and tried to break the silence with his/her own voice?

In East Germany, the dangers to recent history were compounded by the imposition of a Stalinist regime after the defeat of Fascism. The East German Christa Wolf's work is rich with the sense of the value and vulnerability of memory, memory as history in consciousness, the means by which history ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image