Where public and private intersect: The intermingling of spheres in Christa Wolf's Ein Tag im Jahr


In Ein Tag im Jahr 1960-2000 (2003), Christa Wolf offers readers another example of her pursuit of 'subjective Authentizität.' Wolfs compilation of diary-like texts records routine daily activities, including notes about her dreams, references to newspaper headlines and global events, and conversations with friends, family, and important political functionaries. Interwoven with the mundane are detailed descriptions of the writing process as well as constant reassessments of prior fictional texts and essays. Through the juxtaposition of objective and subjective moments and the recording of routine external details coupled with extensive introspection, Wolf intermingles her private domain with the public sphere of GDR culture. This essay addresses the way that this text ruptures the traditional genre boundaries of diary and autobiography, expands pre-coneeived notions of the public sphere and substantively contributes to a redrawing of Wolfs public image. The autobiographical nature of this work enables an investigation of the intersection of Wolfs private life with the public sphere of GDR culture, adding a new dimension to prior understandings of her literary texts within an autobiographical context, making apparent how indivisible the public and private are for understanding Wolf and her works.


Modern and Classical Languages

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Orbis Litterarum