Karen R. Achberger, University of South Carolina Press, 31 Dec 1994, Hardcover, 190 pages.


Understanding Ingeborg Bachmann introduces American readers to the Austrian writer regarded as one of postwar Europe's most innovative modernists.  Offering the first complete bibliography of Bachmann's works in English translation including a listing of all eightyeight published poems, Karen Achberger survey Bachmann's highly acclaimed poems, radio plays, opera librettos, short stories and novels - an entire oeuvre dedicated to the struggle against fascism - in light of the writer's early life in war-ravaged Austria.  Achberger describes the great irony of Bachmann's life and work in that, while she was received as a great writer during her lifetime, the political thrust of her work remained largely unrecognised until after her death in 1973.


Emphasising the tragedy of Germany's obsession with Bachmann's personal life rather than with her critique of postwar society, Achberger explores Bachmann's central themes of constant war and of woman's absence in patriarchal society. Comparing Bachmann's influence to that of Virginia Woolf in America, Achberger describes Bachmann's concern with gender-specific issues, which intensified as her career progressed. Achberger contends that beneath these themes lay Bachmann's tireless search for a new language and her utopian belief in writing on the brink of destruction.



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