Germany: Myth and Apologia in Christa Wolf's Novel Medea. Voices

Publisher:
UTSePress
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 2004, 1 (1), pp. 1 - 19
Issue Date:
2004-01
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In 1995, Christa Wolf, the most eminent author of the former German Democratic Republic, published the novel Medea. Voices. It takes up themes which have been worked and re-worked in European literature since Euripides tragedy, and which go back into pre-literary myth. Medea has many guises: she can be seen as the monstrous mother; as the victim of Jasons fickle nature; or as the perpetual `stranger, the woman who has given up all her origins, only to be disowned. Christa Wolfs novel concentrates on the impossibility of dialoguenot merely between different cultures, but also between the sexes within one culture. `Estrangement has come to define the human condition. In thisby no means novelgeneralization of cultural antagonism to explain what makes human society violent, there lie many unanswered questions. The hypothesis I offer is that such fictions lead to inaccurate generalizations if we take them as more than just elaborations of tragic myth. My paper will seek to narrow this focus once morein a critical senseby posing the question: to what extent does this specific adaptation of the myth by Christa Wolf reflect problems within the society of reunified Germany post-1989?
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