Contemporary German Autobiography

Barbara Saunders
2 September 1985
220 × 140 mm
156 pp
Paperback: 978-0-85457-127-7
The genre of autobiography is a highly popular form of self-expression in contemporary Western literature. This sudy first explores the development and established expectations of the genre in a broad European context and then presents analyses of five autobiographical works by living German-speaking writers accomplished in the fictional mode - Thomas Bernhard, Elias Canetti, Max Frisch, Wolfgang Koeppen, and Christa Wolf. The chosen works not only illustrate that present-day forms of autobiography are diverse, they also show that the traditional aims of the genre are no longer valid. The search for personal identity is rendered complex through writers' changed understanding of the processes of memory, history, personality, and fiction, with the result that not only the writer's interpretation of his own experience is challenged, but that of the reader is too.