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This report is taken from PN Review 34, Volume 10 Number 2, November - December 1983.

Letter from Germany Michael Hulse
July 1983

Now that Christa Wolf has made it into Newsweek and even the English are reading her it is time I made good an unintended and unfortunate omission from my German reports these last three years, and drew attention to the remarkable new generation of women writers in German. German-speaking Europe has of course been notable for the commanding quality of its women writers in our times. In the first half of the century there were Else Lasker-Schüler, Gertrud von le Fort, Ina Seidel and Anna Seghers, among many others, joined by Nobel Prize-winner Nelly Sachs, and Elisabeth Langgässer, Luise Rinser, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, and many more. The post-War period, during which most of these writers continued their production, has seen the prominence also of Ilse Aichinger, Christine Lavant, Ingeborg Bachmann, Gabriele Wohmann, and finally Christa Wolf and Sarah Kirsch. Anyone familiar with modern German writing will know how many fine prose writers and poets, from Ricarda Huch to Karin Struck, are absent from this catalogue, and will regret that so many of the writers I have named here remain relatively unknown in Britain. I should like very much to write on these writers, but I have neither the space for a literary history nor the wish to be labelled a doctrinaire feminist, so instead I shall now focus on five writers under the age of fifty-one, indeed, in her twenties-who have produced arresting work during the three years I have been contributing these letters.

Helga ...


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