Wallinger, Hanna

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Wallinger, Hanna

PERSONAL:

Female.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Salzburg, Austria. Office—University of Salzburg, Department of English, Akademiestr. 24, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Scholar, writer, editor, and educator. University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria, professor of American studies and academic director.

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with Sabine Coelsch-Foisner and Gerhild Reisner) Daughters of Restlessness: Women's Literature at the End of the Millennium, C. Winter (Heidelberg, Germany), 1998.

(Editor, with Kimberly L. Phillips, Hermine D. Pinson, and Lorenzo Thomas) Critical Voicings of Black Liberation: Resistance and Representations in the Americas, LIT Verlag (Münster, Germany), 2003.

Pauline E. Hopkins: A Literary Biography, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 2005.

(Editor) Transitions: Race, Culture, and the Dynamics of Race, LIT Verlag (Vienna, Austria), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Hanna Wallinger is a writer, editor, and educator. She is a professor of American studies and the academic director at the University of Salzburg, Austria.

Wallinger is the author of Pauline E. Hopkins: A Literary Biography. Hopkins was an African American woman who was born before Civil War and lived to the era of the Great Depression. A voice that would in this period be marginalized or, more likely, completely ignored, Hopkins nonetheless had an impact as a successful writer of both fiction and nonfiction. In her career, Hopkins produced novels, plays, short stories, criticism, biographies, and political commentaries. She was also an influential editor and correspondent of the time. Following her death, however, Hopkins and her writings were forgotten for a time. Hopkins was rediscovered in the early 1970s, and many of her works were reprinted. Research and scholarship on Hopkins and her life flourished thereafter, noted Jill Bergman in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers. Many journal articles, essays, and book-length studies appeared. However, Wallinger's book is the first extended biography of Hopkins by a single author to appear in the more than thirty years since Hopkins was rediscovered and thoroughly studied by academics and researchers throughout the country. Wallinger's biography is a "long awaited and much needed resource for Hopkins scholars," Bergman commented.

Wallinger "deserves praise for the reification of Hopkins's image," commented Sandra E. Bowen in the Journal of African American History. Bowen observed that "as one evaluates the material," in the book, "it becomes evident that Wallinger's research has been so comprehensive because she identifies Hopkins as one of the most important ‘foremothers’ of 20th century African American women writers." Wallinger's book "documents Hopkins's contribution to the body of literature that after the slave narratives and plantation stories, heralded the New Negro Renaissance and the recognition of African American women as serious writers, social critics," and political activists, Bowen stated.

Hopkins was a prolific writer in many styles, including essays, poetry, musical compositions, and fiction. She founded the Colored Magazine and became an influential journalist and editor. Wallinger looks at Hopkins's efforts in these areas, and the controversies that she ignited with her works and journalistic reporting. She not only ran afoul of the white male power elite of the time, she also found herself in conflict with a number of influential African American males who were prominent in literature and politics, such as Booker T. Washington. Her difficulties with Washington eventually led to her being removed as editor of the Colored Magazine, a stinging blow for Hopkins. Elsewhere, her political power and influence was sufficient to attract the attention and attacks of notable black males who, at the time, were interested in creating a passive style of interaction with whites that avoided conflict by not saying or doing anything controversial or offensive. For Hopkins, this amounted to ignoring racial injustice and the difficulties faced by African Americans in post-Civil War America, something she was not willing to do simply for the sake of "keeping the peace."

Wallinger notes how Hopkins advocated an assertive and progressive social program for African Americans, including access to higher education, voting rights, and the ability to participate fully in the political process. She was keenly aware of the rights of women, and directed her attention to works and issues that directly affected the political and social rights of women. She worked to overcome racial stereotypes directed toward African American women, particularly those that suggested moral lapses. Wallinger ends with a look at the Harlem Renaissance and considers what effect its more radical approach had on Hopkins and the other writers and intellectual figures of her time.

"As a literary study, this book's value lies primarily in the consolidation and sustained examination of the Hopkins oeuvre. As a biography, Wallinger's study is extremely valuable," Bergman stated, concluding that "Wallinger has drawn a winning portrait of the author and has met a vital need in Hopkins scholarship."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Literature, March, 2006, review of Pauline E. Hopkins: A Literary Biography, p. 199.

Choice, March 1, 2006, L.J. Parascandola, review of Pauline E. Hopkins, p. 1231.

Journal of African American History, summer, 2007, Sandra E. Bowen, review of Pauline E. Hopkins, p. 439.

Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, January, 2006, Jill Bergman, review of Pauline E. Hopkins, p. 98.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2006, review of Pauline E. Hopkins.

ONLINE

Bowling Green State University Web site,http://www.bgsu.edu/ (April 22, 2008), author profile.

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