Writing Home: Heimat and Belonging in the Work of Four German-Speaking Women Writers Exiled to Britain from 1933 (Exile Centre Seminar)

In literary exile studies, male writers have received much more scholarly attention than their female counterparts, especially in the case of German-speaking women writers exiled in Britain from 1933. Whereas Stefan Zweig, Erich Fried, Bertolt Brecht are generally well known, only a handful of the more successful women authors have been studied. Sonja Hilzinger, writing on Jewish German women writers in exile, comments that ‘all too often the silence imposed by exile turned into permanent neglect’. In a bid to address this oversight and underrepresentation, Angharad Mountford considers the life and work of Gerda Mayer, Gabriele Tergit, Ruth Feiner and Eva Priester, four lesser-known female writers who were exiled to Britain, focusing on issues of home, ‘Heimat’ and belonging as represented both in the writers’ literary output and in their private and personal lives whilst in exile. The question of ‘home’ is a complex one, particularly in the context of exiles and refugees and, at a time when the refugee crisis shows no signs of abating, alternative ways of understanding exile and displacement are urgently needed. It is also timely to question the significance of national belonging in an increasingly transnational world, and this research aims to add to that ongoing wider conversation. Merilyn Moos, Andrea Hammel, Zak Eastop and Hedda Joyce contribute to the discussion.

Author: 
Institute of Modern Languages Research
Speaker(s): 
Angharad Mountford (London); Chair: Jana Buresova (London)
Event date: 
Wednesday, 23 June 2021 - 6:00pm