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    The politics of 'Innerlichkeit': Karin Struck's 'Klassenuebe' and Verena Stefan's 'Häutungen'

    Leal, Joanne (1997) The politics of 'Innerlichkeit': Karin Struck's 'Klassenuebe' and Verena Stefan's 'Häutungen'. German Life and Letters 50 (4), pp. 508-528. ISSN 0016-8777.

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    Abstract

    While Struck's Klassenliebe (1973) and Stefan's Häutungen (1975) are regularly cited as examples of the political interpretation of private experience characteristic of feminist literature of the 197Os, they have also been criticised for not anchoring personal experience adequately within a broader political context to allow it to acquire more than an essentially private significance. Such contradictoly reactions can be accounted for at least in part by a tension between the political terms in which the interpretation of the narrator-protagonists' alienation is couched and the private nature of the solutions considered. Although their experiences illustrate a rejection of internalised social norms and gender conventions, the solution offered constitutes a retreat into an essentially asocial sphere. Moreover, while both protagonists understand narrating their lives as an-integral part of the process of overcoming alienation and making this experience accessible to other women, their writing becomes instrumental in the construction of a sense of identity tenable only as long as it remains untried in a social context. Both works articulate an overwhelming political resignation, and offer literature as an alternative, private realm of self-fulfilment. In this respect, they have as much in common with an essentially male tradition of ‘Innerlichkeit’ revived in the 1970s as with a feminist literature committed to combining overt subjectivity with a broader social perspective.

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