Wolf, Christa 1929-
WOLF, Christa 1929-
PERSONAL: Born March 18, 1929, in Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany (now Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland); daughter of Otto Ihlenfeld (a salesperson); married Gerhard Wolf (a Germanist and essayist), 1951; children: Annette, Katrin. Education: Attended University of Jena and University of Leipzig, 1949-53.
ADDRESSES: Home—Berlin, Germany. Agent—c/o Luchterhand, Verlagsgruppe Random House, Neumarkter Str., 28 81673 Munich, Germany.
CAREER: Novelist, essayist, and writer of short stories. Until 1959 worked as technical assistant for East German Writers Union, as a reader for Neues Leben (publishing house), East Berlin, and as editor of Neue Deutsche Literatur (periodical); Mitteldeutscher Verlag (publisher), Halle, East Germany, reader, 1959-62; full-time writer, 1962—. Max Kade writer-inresidence, Oberlin College, 1974 and 1983; visiting scholar at Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Santa Monica, CA, 1992—.
MEMBER: PEN, German Academy of Arts, Darmstadt Academy, Berlin Academy of Arts.
AWARDS, HONORS: Literary prize, City of Halle, 1961; Heinrich Mann prize, German Academy, 1963, for Der geteilte Himmel; national prize for art and literature, German Democratic Republic (GDR), 1964; Fontane prize, 1972; Bremen literature prize, 1978; Georg Büchner Prize, 1980; Schiller memorial prize, 1983; honorary doctorates, Ohio State University, 1983, University of Columbus, 1985; Hamburg University, 1989; Austrian national prize for European literature, 1985; Sibling School prize, 1987; GDR national prize of the first class, 1987; Mondello prize, 1990; Officier des Arts et des Lettres (France), 1990; Erich Fried honor, 1992; honorary member of American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1993; (with Gerhard Wolf) Rahel Varnhagen von Ense medal, 1994.
Moskauer Novelle (novella; title means "Moscow Novella"), Mitteldeutscher (Halle, Germany), 1961.
Der geteilte Himmel (novel), Mitteldeutscher (Halle, Germany), 1963, reprinted, EMC, 1980, translation by Joan Becker published as Divided Heaven: A Novel of Germany Today, Seven-Seas Press (Berlin, Germany), 1965, Adler's Foreign Books (New York, NY), 1976.
Nachdenken über Christa T. (novel), Mitteldeutscher (Halle, Germany), 1968, translation by Christopher Middleton published as The Quest for Christa T., Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1971.
(With Gerhard Wolf) Till Eulenspiegel: Erzählung für den Film (film script), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1973.
Unter den Linden: Drei unwahrscheinliche Geschichten (short stories; title means "Under the Linden Tree: Three Improbable Stories"), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1974.
Kindheitsmuster (novel), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1976, translation by Ursule Molinaro and Hedwig Rappolt published as A Model Childhood, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1980.
Kein Ort. Nirgends (novel), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1979, translation by Jan van Heurck published as No Place on Earth, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1982.
Gesammelte Erzählungen, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1980, translation by Heike Schwarzbauer and Rick Takvorian published as What Remains and Other Stories, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1993.
Kassandra: Vier Vorlesungen; eine Erzählung (novel and essays), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1983, translation by Jan van Heurck published as Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1984.
Störfall (novel), Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1987, translation by Heike Schwarzbauer and Rick Takvarian published as Accident: A Day's News, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1989.
Sommerstück (novel), Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), c. 1989.
(Reteller) Medea: Stimmen, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1996, translation by John Cullen published as Medea: A Modern Retelling, Nan A. Talese (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Ingeborg Bachmann) Selected Prose and Drama, edited by Patricia A. Herminghouse, Continuum (New York, NY), 1998.
Hierzulande, andernorts: Erzählungen und andere Texte 1994-1998, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1999.
Lesen und Schreiben: Aufsätze und Betrachtungen (essays), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1972, reprinted as Lesen und Schreiben: Aufsätze und Prosastücke, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1972, translation by Joan Becker published as The Reader and the Writer: Essays, Sketches, Memories, Signet (New York, NY), 1977.
Forgesetzter Versuch: Aufsätze, Gespräche, Essays, Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 1979.
Neue Lebensansichten eines Katers; Juninachmittag, Reclam (Stuttgart, Germany), 1981.
Voraussetzungen einer Erzählung: Kassandra (lectures; title means "Genesis of a Story: Kassandra"), Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1983.
Die Dimension des Autors: Essays und Aufsaetze, Reden und Gespräche 1959-1986, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1987, translation by Alexander Stephan published as The Author's Dimension: Selected Essays, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1993.
Ansprachen (speeches and letters), Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), c. 1989.
Sei Gegrusst und Lebe: Eine Freundschaft in Briefen, 1964-1973 (correspondence), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1993.
(With Gunter Gaus) Gunter Gaus im Gesprach mit Christa Wolf, Rolf Hochhuth, Kurt Maetzig, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Jens Reich, Volk und Welt (Berlin, Germany), 1993.
(With Franz Fühmann) Monsieur, wir finden uns wieder: Briefe, 1968-1984 (correspondence), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1995.
(With Gerhard Wolf) Unsere Freunde, die Maler: Bilder, Essays, Dokumente, G. Wolf Janus (Berlin, Germany), 1995.
Auf dem Weg nach Tabou, translation by Jan van Heurck published as Parting from Phantoms: Selected Writings, 1990-1994, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1997.
In diesen Jahren: Deutsche Erzähler der Gegenwart (title means "In These Years: Contemporary German Short Story Writers"), Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 1957.
(With husband, Gerhard Wolf) Wir, unsere Zeit (title means "We, in Our Time"), Aufbau (Berlin, Germany), 1959.
Proben junger Erzahler: Ausgewählte deutsche Prosa (title means "A Sampler of Work by Young Short Story Writers: Selected German Prose"), Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 1959.
Karoline von Günderode, Der Schatten eines Traumes, Der Morgen (Berlin, Germany), 1979.
Historischer Verein für Hessen, 1934-1983: Vortraege, Exkursionen, Publikationen, Verlag des Historischen Veriens für Hessen (Darmstadt, Germany), 1983.
Anna Seghers, Ausgewählte Erzählungen, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1983.
ADAPTATIONS: Divided Heaven (1964) and Selbstversuch (1990) have been adapted for film.
SIDELIGHTS: East German novelist, short story writer, and essayist Christa Wolf is "arguably the most influential figure in contemporary German literature, East or West," exclaimed Peter Graves in the Times Literary Supplement. Since the early 1960s, and despite various literary restrictions enacted by the former East German government, Wolf has produced a substantial body of literature that has made her one of the most widely read writers in Germany. Anne McElvoy remarked in the London Times on Wolf's popularity: "She is a saturnine, cerebral writer whose work resounds with challenges to entrenched attitudes in both East and West. The relationships between past and present, men and women, individual and society, provide the axes round which she weaves her prose." Wolf's writings have garnered an international reputation as well. Mary Fulbrook in the Times Literary Supplement praised Wolf's "directness of approach, her 'subjective authenticity,'" and added that "in grappling with the specific problems of her generation, her society and her gender—the psychological effects of fascism, the development of socialism, the social roles of women—Wolf's writing reaches a much wider audience."
Wolf gained widespread recognition with her first fulllength novel published in 1963. Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven: A Novel of Germany Today) tells the story of an East German woman who refuses to join her lover, who has fled to the West. The novel, which was published shortly after the building of the Berlin Wall, owed its popularity, according to Dieter Sevin in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, to its treatment of "the German question" and its portrayal of the "intensification of the cold war and the fear that it might lead to actual war." Sevin added, "Although the story takes place in the [German Democratic Republic] Wolf addresses general problems and concerns: the anxieties resulting from leaving the idyllic village for the big city—the feeling of being lost, lonely, and scared—are common in any industrialized nation." Divided Heaven received an enthusiastic official reception in East Germany—it was awarded the country's prestigious Heinrich Mann prize—despite Wolf's portrayal of an "accident" that occurs to the female protagonist after she decides to remain in East Berlin, and which might in fact be an unconscious suicide attempt. East German critics tended to overlook the suicidal possibilities of the woman's actions and instead focused on her decision to remain in East Germany.
Unlike Divided Heaven, Wolf's next novel, Nachdenken über Christa T. (The Quest for Christa T.), caused controversy in East Germany. East German censors postponed publication of the book for two years, and when it finally appeared in a limited edition of 4,000 copies, booksellers were instructed to release it only to "well-known customers professionally involved in literary matters." At the Sixth East German Writers Congress, the book was publicly condemned as "a pessimistic attempt to replace Marx with Freud." Much of the controversy, according to Sevin, resulted from the novel's having met "none of the criteria of the prevailing literary doctrine of socialist realism—the demands of a positive hero, for the setting of an example, for an appeal to the masses, and, most of all, for strict adherence to the policies of the party."
The Quest for Christa T. is the story of a woman named Christa who graduates from a university, teaches school, marries and bears children, and then dies of leukemia at the age of thirty-five. As the novel opens, the narrator has come upon her friend Christa's papers and letters and decides to tell her story. On the surface, as Jack D. Zipes commented in Mosaic, "there is nothing outstanding or remarkable" about Christa, which, Zipes concluded, is "exactly the point." In describing the life and thoughts of Christa T., Wolf "writes about an average woman in East Germany, and she wants to understand why this woman is 'drained' of her exuberance for life." Christa T.'s writings reveal a woman who is increasingly forced to the fringes of East German society. Zipes commented that the narrator of The Quest for Christa T. "has written about Christa's growing alienation in order to question the conditions which led to her withdrawal and death." Said Sevin: "The narrator tries to discover the truth about the life of her dead friend. Like Christa T., she cannot write without speaking the truth; but in a collectivist society the truth is sometimes better not expressed."
The Quest for Christa T. was either denounced or ignored by many East German critics, yet Western reviewers praised the book. A New York Times Book Review critic described it as a "beautifully written, imaginative novel [that] has nothing explicitly to do with politics," while a writer for the New Leader commented that Wolf "succeeds in creating that fictional rarity, a character who is ordinary and engaging, complex and credible, and well worth knowing." A reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement called it "a remarkable novel, not merely because it deviates from the prescribed ideological pattern, a fact which has earned it an inflated reputation in the West and a difficult passage in the East, but because it respects the delicacy of individual personality despite threatening restraints."
The autobiographical Kindheitsmuster (A Model Childhood), which Wolf considers one of her most important and extensive literary contributions, recalls her life under the growing influence of Chancellor Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany and the experiences of her family from 1932 to 1946. Wolf begins Kindheitsmuster with these words: "What is past is not dead. It is not even past. We separate ourselves from it and pretend to be strangers." Approaching the history of early twentieth-century Germany in this manner, Kindheitsmuster differs from East German official literature in that East Germans divorced themselves from their Nazi past.
In A Model Childhood Wolf traces her life under the rule of Hitler: at the age of five his very name brings a lump to her throat, her father joins the Party, she progresses through various Nazi youth organizations, in school she learns of racial purity and begins to fear the alien race—the Jews—and finally, she states that no objections are made, "not even at the euthanasia programme, that costs the family their simple-minded aunt Jette." While Wolf recounts these "trivialities," the difficulty emerges, as Fiona MacCarthy pointed out in the London Times, of her "recalling the whole pattern, the whole long horrendous build-up of the incidents she vaguely knew were out of key but somehow did not question."
In one section of her book Wolf recounts a trip she made with her husband, brother, and daughter to her birthplace (now a town in Poland). It is in this narrative, according to Graves, that the book's greatest strengths are revealed. The mother must now confront the truth of what has happened, along with her daughter. Throughout Kindheitsmuster, however, as John Leonard commented in the New York Times, Wolf portrays "how hard it is to make literature out of the unknowable, to select and defend and deny, to resist anecdote, to avoid punch lines." Graves called Kindheitsmuster "a courageous book that breaks taboos … it is infused with an integrity and a deep moral concern that raise it far above the narrow and self-conscious partisanship of much GDR literature. It speaks equally to East and West Germany—itself a daring accomplishment for an East German author—but also, with its atmospheric depiction of a fateful era and its patent and compelling truthfulness, to wider audiences beyond." In the London Times MacCarthy described it as "a powerful book, a most extraordinary testament," and observed that Wolf's "vision of the fundamental strangeness of what seemed at the time a fairly ordinary childhood, in the bosom of a normal Nazi family in Landsberg" is what "makes [the] narrative so moving, so convincing."
In Kein Ort. Nirgends (No Place on Earth) Wolf departs from the milieu of modern Germany to write an experimental novel featuring two nineteenth-century German literary figures. No Place on Earth depicts a fictionalized meeting between poet Karoline von Günderode and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, two young Romantic writers who committed suicide in the early 1800s. "In their mysterious encounter … they share a utopian vision of their artistic potential," noted Amity Shlaes in the New Republic, adding that, like Wolf's earlier works, No Place on Earth "is about people trying to reconcile themselves to the difficult worlds they live in." Marilyn French concurred in the New York Times Book Review, noting that Wolf focuses on "what it feels like to know oneself utterly unsuited, utterly wrong in one's culture, to have no place on earth."
While the themes of No Place on Earth are romantic in nature, they are also universal, according to French. "Its concerns are ours," she noted: "the difficulties of becoming oneself in a world that demands conformity; of living with others when one is unlike them and refuses to hide that; of juggling interdependency and the demands that arise from it; of needing solitude but being oppressed by isolation." While some critics have found difficulty with the novel's complex argumentative nature, French praised it as "very concentrated and intricately woven," calling it "a dramatic meditation on constriction; the freedom the characters lack is felt almost like a lack of air."
With Kassandra, a novel accompanied by four essays that comment upon the genesis of this work, Wolf retells the story of the prophetess Cassandra, who warned Troy of its imminent destruction but whose predictions were not heeded. "The novel," according to Sevin, "shows that male-dominated power structures deny input not only to women like Kassandra but to anybody with differing ideas…. Kassandra's plighthas an autobiographical basis in Wolf's own need to speak and write the truth no matter what the official policy might be." Of Kassandra, McElvoy wrote: "This is Wolf at her best, turning deconstructive prose loose on myth and modernity, dissecting Homeric heroics to reveal the origins of the Cold War." McElvoy contended that Wolf feminizes myth, and in so doing comments upon how the strict polarization of roles can be dangerous for any society.
New York Times contributor Christopher Lehmann-Haupt called Kassandra "a compelling narration of the Trojan War," but found fault with the idea of publishing a novel that is in the same volume explained by the author. As he read the novel, Lehmann-Haupt found himself anticipating how Wolf would interpret her own work. "And sure enough," the critic noted, "in these four lectures Miss Wolf explains her growing obsession with the figure of Cassandra, and develops her thesis that the prophetess represents the residue of a feminist Poetics that was suppressed and abandoned."
Wolf's 1987 novel Störfall (Accident: A Day's News), written after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union which affected much of Europe, juxtaposes that event with the narrator's brother being operated upon for a brain tumor. McElvoy characterized the events of this novel, which take place on a single day, as a "melange of telephone calls, household chores, memories of her grandparents 'who never travelled unless they were evacuated' and her brother's brain operation," and she noted that these incidents provide "the normal backdrop of an abnormal day." According to Eva Hoffman in the New York Times, Wolf describes how events such as these "register on our consciousness and imagination, how the deep intrusions of technology into our existence alter the substance of our world, our very sense of what it means to be human, of who and what we are." Hoffman called Wolf's voice in Störfall "impassioned, intimate, variable…. A voice that allows us poignantly togauge how the large and abstract forces shaping our world fall upon one vulnerable, perishable entity that we still like to think of as human."
The anthology What Remains and Other Stories, published after the reunification of Germany, brought criticism to its author. In the title story Wolf "candidly recalls the horror of living under the surveillance of East Germany's secret police," explained Nikki Lee Manos in Belles Lettres. Many observers criticized Wolf for waiting until after the collapse of East Germany to publish her account, noting that the author enjoyed privilege and rank while living under the former regime's socialist agenda. The critical backlash, Melissa Benn explained in New Statesman & Society, was based on the feeling that "the delay in publishing [What Remains] … was a disingenuous attempt to claim retrospective victim status." Benn defended the author, calling What Remains "uncompromising. It clearly states not only Wolf's isolation, but her growing disillusionment with [the former East German state] and its slogans: GROWTH PROSPERITY STABILITY."
In 1993 Wolf again came under criticism when it was revealed that she had been an "informal collaborator" with the Stasi from 1959 to 1962. Despite the fact that she had spoken out openly against the regime on two major occasions—and the fact that the Stasi spent twenty years surveilling her—many critics felt that she had "maintained an ignoble silence about the excesses of the regime," noted Mary Gordon in the Nation. Wolf's Medea: A Modern Retelling came out not long after, causing many to read into the book Wolf's attempts to deal with her past. "Wolf's retelling emphasizes [Medea's] status as foreigner, as exotic, as the other 'dark' savage, possessed of esoteric knowledge and powers. In Wolf's version, Medea is sexually threatening and intellectually dangerous to the members of the Corinthian court. Her knowledge (female, foreign) challenges theirs (male, official). What is most unbearable is her insistence on truth-telling," Gordon wrote. Although some critics felt that Medea was not as successful as Kassandra, Barbara Hoffert in Library Journal found it to be "a real flesh-and-blood retelling" of the Greek myth, while Booklist contributor Donna Seaman called Medea "riveting and significant."
Discussing her interest in myth, Wolf explained in an essay posted on Bold Type online: "Myth provides a model that's open enough to incorporate our own present experiences while giving us a distance from our subject that usually only time can make possible….Itcan help us to gain new insight intoour own times, it highlights characteristics we'd rather not notice, and it lifts us out of the banality of every day. It forces us, in a particular way, to ask what I believe is the paramount question of all fiction: what is humanity?"
While she is most frequently recognized for her fiction, Wolf is also praised for her critical writings, which include essays, speeches and letters. In these works she discusses many of the ideas that abound in her fiction, allowing, as Fulbrook noted of Die Dimension des Autors (The Author's Dimension), "a sustained engagement with Wolf's reflections on a range of themes." According to Fulbrook, "a key question" that permeates Wolf's work "is that of the formation and channeling of personality under fascism." Discussing the work in Belles Lettres, Manos commented that "Many of the pieces in this invaluable anthology function as epilogues for particular works or prefaces for ensuing rereading."
Wolf's essay collection Parting from Phantoms: Selected Writings, 1990-1994 again turns to the collapse of East Germany as its subject matter. "Half apologetic, half self-critical, Wolf tries to come to terms with her legacy as an established East German intellectual," Ali Houissa wrote in Library Journal. Despite the fact that Wolf had often been extremely critical of her country's Communist regime, Parting from Phantoms expresses anguish over the loss of East Germany as a political entity. In New Republic Jeffrey Herf wrote: "In her treatment of the collapse of Communism, she conveys the sense of the utter defeat of her political hopes, lashes out in anger and defensiveness at the victors' 'phantoms' that offer a distorted picture of the GDR, and attempts to provide examples of the better aspects of East Germany." While Wolf highlights the role of the "quietly dissenting intelligentsia" in the 1989 revolution, Herf noted that, in her grief, she neglects to discuss the negative aspects of her former country. Todd Gitlin commented in the Nation that Parting from Phantoms contains "more anguish than insight," although he also felt that "the rawness … is its greatest contribution, and its bona fides—testifying to the human cost of deception and self-deception."
In her Bold Type essay Wolf discussed the power and potential of her craft. "Literature must play through its various possibilities," she noted. "It's up to the players to decide which ones shine most clearly for them."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Behn, Manfred, editor, Wirkungsgeschichte von Christa Wolfs "Nachdenken über Christa T.", Athenaeum (Königstein, Germany), 1978.
Buehler, George, The Death of Socialist Realism in the Novels of Christa Wolf, Lang (Frankfurt, Germany), 1984.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 14, 1980, Volume 29, 1984.
Cook, Bernard A., editor, Europe since 1945: An Encyclopedia, Volume 2, Garland (New York, NY), 2001.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 75.
Contemporary German Fiction Writers, Second Series, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1988, pp. 258-64.
Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, Volume 4, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Ezergailis, Inta, Woman Writers: The Divided Self: Analysis of Novels by Christa Wolf, Ingeborg Bachmann, Doris Lessing, and Others, Grundmann (Bonn, Germany), 1982.
Garland, Mary, The Oxford Companion to German Literature, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Gerber, Margy, and Christine Cosentino, Studies in GDR Culture and Society 2, University Press of America, 1982, pp. 59-85.
Giesen, Winifred, Christa Wolf, Universitätsbibliothek, 1982.
Hilzinger, Sonja, Kassandra: über Christa Wolf, Haag & Herchen (Frankfurt, Germany), 1982.
Keith-Smith, Brian, editor, Essays on Contemporary German Literature, Oswald Wolff, 1966.
Kuhn, Anna K., Christa Wolf's Utopian Vision: From Marxism to Feminism, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1988.
Magill, Frank N., editor, Cyclopedia of World Authors, revised 3rd edition, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1997.
Mannack, Eberhard, Zwei deutsche Literaturen?: zu G. Grass, U. Johnson, H. Kant, U. Plenzdorf und C. Wolf, Athenaeum (Königstein, Germany), 1977.
Murphy, Bruce, editor, Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 4th edition, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
Penguin International Dictionary of Contemporary Biography from 1900 to the Present, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.
Renoldner, Klemens, Utopie und Geschichtsbewusstsein: Versuche zur Poetik Christa Wolfs, Akademischer (Stuttgart, Germany), 1981.
Resch Margit, Understanding Christa Wolf: Returning Home to a Foreign Land, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1997Reso, Martin, editor, "Der geteilte Himmel" und seine Kritiker: Dokumentation, Mitteldeutscher (Halle, Germany), 1965.
Robinson, Lillian S., Modern Women Writers in Library of Literary Criticism Series, Continuum (New York, NY), 1996.
Ryan, Judith, The Uncompleted Past: Postwar German Novels and the Third Reich, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1983.
Sauer, Klaus, editor, Christa Wolf: Materialienbuch, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 1979.
Sevin, Dieter, Der geteilte Himmel, Nachdenken über Christa T.: Interpretationen, Oldenbourg (Munich, Germany), 1982.
Stephan, Alexander, Christa Wolf, Edition Text und Kritik, 1976.
Stephan, Alexander, Christa Wolf (bibliography), Rodolphi (Atlanta, GA), 1980.
Thomassen, Christa, Der lange Weg zu uns selbst: Christa Wolfs Roman "Nachdenken über Christa T." als Erfahrungs-und Handlungsmuster, Scriptor (Kronberg, Germany), 1977.
von Salisch, Marion, Zwischen Selbstaufgabe und Selbstverwirklichung: zum Problem der Persönlichkeitsstrukter im Werk Christa Wolfs, Klett (Stuttgart, Germany), 1975.
Waidson, H. M., The Modern German Novel, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1971.
Wallace, Ian, Christa Wolf in Perspective, Rodolphi (Atlanta, GA), 1994.
Weber, Heinz-Dieter, Ueber Christa Wolfs Schreibart, Universitätsverlag (Constance, Germany), 1984.
Belles Lettres, fall, 1993, p. 61.
Booklist, January 15, 1995, review of Parting from Phantoms: Selected Writings, 1990-1994, p. 902; September 15, 1997, Mary Carroll, review of Medea: A Modern Retelling and Parting from Phantoms, p. 199; April 15, 1998, Donna Seaman, review of Medea, p. 1430.
Books Abroad, winter, 1975; spring, 1975; autumn, 1977.
Choice, April, 1998, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. 1377.
Comparative Literature, spring, 1995, review of No Place on Earth, p. 118.
Critique, summer, 1995, review of Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays, p. 227.
German Quarterly, January, 1981, pp. 63-75; spring, 1984, pp. 213-230.
Globe and Mail, August 4, 2001, review of Accident: A Day's News, p. D12.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1997, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. 1210; March 15, 1998, review of Medea, p. 364.
Library Journal, February 15, 1993, p. 195; March 1, 1993, p. 78; August, 1997, Ali Houissa, review ofParting from Phantoms, p. 89; April 15, 1998, Barbara Hoffert, review of Medea, p. 117; March 1, 1999, review of Medea, p. 136.
London Review of Books, November 12, 1998, review of Medea, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 28, 1980; July 29, 1984; June 26, 1988; June 4, 1989; May 3, 1998, review of Medea, p. 11.
Mosaic, spring, 1972, pp. 1-17.
Nation, February 13, 1967; April 5, 1993, p. 454, 455, 457; November 3, 1997, Todd Gitlin, review of Parting from Phantoms, pp. 28-30; May 11, 1998, Mary Gordon, review of Medea, p. 18.
New German Critique, winter, 1979, pp. 31-53; fall, 1982, pp. 57-88.
New German Studies, spring, 1981, pp. 1-13.
New Leader, May 31, 1971.
New Republic, April 4, 1983, p. 38; May 24, 1993,p. 31; July 20, 1998, Jeffrey Herf, review of Parting from Phantoms, pp. 38-41.
New Statesman, April 23, 1993, p. 29; February 24, 1995, review of A Model Childhood, p. 54.
New Statesman & Society, April 16, 1982, p. 20.
New York Review of Books, September 2, 1971.
New York Times, June 3, 1969; July 29, 1980; September 6, 1982; July 31, 1984; April 12, 1989.
New York Times Book Review, October 19, 1969; January 31, 1971; October 12, 1980, pp. 11, 34; October 10, 1982, pp. 11, 34; September 9, 1984, p. 20; October 12, 1986, p. 11; April 23, 1989; April 4, 1993, p. 1; December 17, 1995, review of The Author's Dimension and What Remains and Other Stories, p. 36; June 14, 1998, review of Medea, p. 17.
Observer (London, England), February 5, 1995, review of No Place on Earth, p. 25; February 12, 1995, review of A Model Childhood, p. 21; June 6, 1999, review of Medea, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, September 15, 1997, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. 62; March 2, 1998, review of Medea, p. 58.
Reference and Research Book News, May, 1998, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. 175.
Saturday Review, May 8, 1971.
Sunday Times, May 16, 1971, p. 33.
Times (London, England), April 29, 1982; January 7, 1989; May 6, 1989.
Times Literary Supplement, July 24, 1969; August 13, 1971, p. 961; April 7, 1978, p. 396; October 3, 1980, p. 1108; April 29, 1982; June 4, 1982,p. 608; May 13, 1983; October 10, 1983, p. 1208; November 15, 1985; October 2-8, 1987, p. 1075; April 21-27, 1989; June 15-21, 1990; October 4, 1996, review of Medea, p. 17; April 17, 1998, review of Medea, p. 22.
Wall Street Journal, October 23, 1997, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. A17.
Women's Review of Books, May, 1998, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. 6.
World Literature Today, autumn, 1979, p. 671; spring, 1981, p. 310; autumn, 1981, pp. 553-60; summer, 1995, review of Parting from Phantoms, p. 579; winter, 1997, review of Medea, p. 142.
Bold Type,http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/ (March 7, 2003), Christa Wolf, "From Cassandra to Medea: Impulses and Motives behind My Work on Two Mythical Figures."