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Parting from Phantoms

Selected Writings, 1990-1994

Translated and annotated by Jan van Heurck
Parting from Phantoms is a window into the soul of the most prominent writer of the German Democratic Republic and its most famous export, Christa Wolf. The essays, diary entries, and letters in this book document four agonizing years in Wolf’s personal history and paint a vivid portrait of the cultural and political situation in the former German Democratic Republic. This collection stands as an important testimony to the personal and cultural costs of German reunification.

"The works in this book constitute an essential document of the history of reunified Germany, and this alone recommends it to scholars and those interested in current European events."— Publishers Weekly

"Christa Wolf was arguably the most influential writer of a nation that no longer exists. . . . Parting from Phantoms traces the fever chart of her anguish. . . . In some ways, the rawness of the present volume is its greatest contribution, and its bona fides—testifying to the human cost of deception and self-deception."—Todd Gitlin, Nation

"A thrilling display of ideological soul-searching."—Ilan Stavans, Newsday, Favorite Books of 1997

323 pages | 11 halftones | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1997

History: European History

Literature and Literary Criticism: Germanic Languages

Table of Contents

Translator’s Foreword
The Language of the Turning Point
Momentary Interruption
A German You Can Contradict: Hans Mayer
Whatever Happened to Your Smile? Wasteland Berlin 1990
Rummelplatz, the Eleventh Plenum of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party, 1965: A Report from Memory
Two Letters: I. To an Academy
Two Letters: II. To Wolfgang Thierse
"The Truth of Our Tongues": The Stories of Grace Paley
Woserin, Friday, September 27, 1991
Cancer and Society
The Leftover Baggage of German History: Correspondence with Jurgen Habermas
Trial by Nail
On the Road to Tabou: Paul Parin
Clinical Findings
The Multiple Being Inside Us: Correspondence with Efim Etkind
Mood Fit
Caught Talking: Otl Aicher
The Faces of Anna Seghers: A Picture Book
Santa Monica, Sunday, September 27, 1992
"Free, Ordered, Inconsolable": To Heinrich Boll on the Occasion of His Seventy-Fifth Birthday
Hours of Weakness, Hours of Strength: Correspondence with Gunter Grass
One’s Own Contradictory Life: Volker and Anne Braun to Christa Wolf
Reply to a Letter from Volker Braun
Berlin, Monday, September 17, 1993
Insisting on Myself: Christa Wolf in Conversation with Gunter Gaus
The Symbols of Nuria Quevedo
Parting from Phantoms: On Germany

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