Spanning the past three decades, these essays focus on the roles of the writer and literature today. In the first half of this series of witty, probing essays on reading and writing, Wolf examines the individual's, in particular the writer's, relationship to society. The final sections, "On War and Peace and Politics" and "The End of the German Democratic Republic," demonstrate the ways in which Wolf's political thinking has evolved and cast light on the political situation in East Germany prior to reunification.
"An important publication, ably served by the editing of Alexander Stephan; the knowledgeable translation by Jan Van Heurck; and Grace Paley's sisterly introduction, which . . . claims at least the later Christa Wolf for a pacifist feminism."—Peter Demetz, New York Times
Parting from Phantoms is a window into the soul of the most prominent writer of the German Democratic Republic and its most famous export, Christa Wolf. The essays, diary entries, and letters in this book document four agonizing years in Wolf's personal history and paint a vivid portrait of the cultural and political situation in the former German Democratic Republic. This collection stands as an important testimony to the personal and cultural costs of German reunification.
"The works in this book constitute an essential document of the history of reunified Germany, and this alone recommends it to scholars and those interested in current European events."— Publishers Weekly
"Christa Wolf was arguably the most influential writer of a nation that no longer exists. . . . Parting from Phantoms traces the fever chart of her anguish. . . . In some ways, the rawness of the present volume is its greatest contribution, and its bona fides—testifying to the human cost of deception and self-deception."—Todd Gitlin, Nation
"A thrilling display of ideological soul-searching."—Ilan Stavans, Newsday, Favorite Books of 1997