Autobiographical Progression in the Writings of Christa Wolf: Nachdenken Über Christa T. (1968), Kindheitsmuster (1976), and Ein Tag ?m Jahr (2003)

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This work examines Wolf’s significance as a female writer and her tendency towards autobiographical writing.


“[the author’s] writing as a whole is usefully viewed as an autobiographical project, in which the thinking and writing of selfhood grounds the thinking and writing of the social, the historical and the temporal.”-Prof. Caitr?ona Leahy, Trinity College, Dublin

"It is a project in which the thinking and writing of selfhood grounds the thinking and writing of the social, the historical and the temporal. This is a successful argument that the examiners of the thesis clearly recognized and the contribution Nunan’s argument makes for Wolf scholarship is undoubted.”-Prof. Peter Arnds, Trinity College

“…a solid and substantial contribution to our knowledge and understanding of one of the most important German female author’s of the last 50 years. Moreover, it engages with the autobiographical paradigm, which is currently in many ways at the forefront of theoretical discussions.”-Prof. Jürgen Barkhoff, Trinity College

Table of Contents


1. Theoretical Perspective on Autobiography: Links to
Christa Wolf’s Nachdenken über Christa T., Kindheitsmuster and Ein Tag im Jahr
1.1. The ‘Origins’ of Autobiography: Saint Augustine’s
Confessions 1.2. Variation on the Tradition: Saint Teresa’s Book of Her Life
1.3. The Other ‘Original’: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions
1.4. Christa Wolf’s Links to Romantic Self-Expression
1.5. Influential Theorists of Autobiography: Georges Gusdorf and Philippe Lejeune
1.6. Deconstructive Reaction to Gusdorf and Lejeune: Paul de Man
1.7. Writing Autobiography Against Itself: Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes
1.8. “What is an author?” of Autobiography
1.9. Feminism and Autobiography
1.10.Nachdenken über Christa T., Kindheitsmuster and Ein Tag im Jahr and the Autobiographical Tradition

2. Beginning Autobiography in Nachdenken über Christa T.
2.1. Early Reception of Nachdenken über Christa T.
2.2. A ‘New’ Literary Form
2.3. ‘Authentic’ or ‘Fictional’ Figures?
2.4. The Autobiographical Turning Point
2.5. The Association between Death and Autobiography
2.6. Objections to an ‘Autobiographical’ Reading of Nachdenken über Christa T.
2.7. ‘Die Schwierigkeit ‘Ich’ zu sagen’: The Claim to Female Aesthetic and its Link with Autobiography

3. Kindheitsmuster as Autobiography: Within the Tradition and Without:
Continuity between the Past and the Present
3.1. Early Debate about Kindheitsmuster
3.2. How does the Narrator Relate to the Child in Kindheitsmuster?
3.3. Closeness and Distance to the Mother
3.4. Humour and Reference to Sexuality as Essentially Linked to Autobiography
3.5. Lenka: The Generational Legacy
3.6. Kindheitsmuster: Inverting the Tradition

4. Ein Tag im Jahr: Journal Writing as Radical Autobiographical Project
4.1. Tepid Reception
4.2. Christa Wolf Eine Biographie: Cult Portrait
4.3. Ein Tag im Jahr: Journal Revisited
4.4. Cult Portrait Reversed
4.5. Self-Presentation: Pre- and Post-Wende
4.6. Hintertext



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