Reinig, Christa (1926—)

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Reinig, Christa (1926—)

German feminist writer. Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1926; studied four years at Humboldt University.

Published one of her first poetry collections, Der Abend—der Morgen (Evening—Morning, 1951); published prize-winning radio play, Aquarium (1968); published feminist novel, Die Entmannung (Emasculation or Castration, 1976).

Christa Reinig was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1926. Although trained as a florist, she was employed as a factory worker during World War II and aided in the reconstruction of Berlin at the war's conclusion. She entered Humboldt University and, after four years of study in art history and archaeology, accepted a position as curator at the Märkisches Museum in 1957. She remained there until 1964, when she moved from East Germany to West Germany and began to devote most of her time to writing.

Reinig's first works were poems, originally published in East German journals, which were later collected in several volumes. Among these are Der Abend—der Morgen (Evening—Morning, 1951); Die Steine von Finisterre (The Stones of Finisterre, 1960); and Die Schwalbe von Olevano (The Swallow from Olevano, 1969). She also wrote for children, including a book of verse, Hantipanti (1972), and a story, Der Hund mit dem Schlüssel (The Dog with the Key, 1976). Reinig wrote several radio plays, among them the award-winning Aquarium (1968). Die himmlische und die irdische Geometrie (Heavenly and Earthly Geometry, 1975), an autobiographical novel, was followed by other novels, such as Die Entmannung (Emasculation or Castration, 1976). Additional works include Orion trat aus dem Haus (Orion Has Left the House, 1969); Die Ballade vom blutigen Bomme (The Ballad of Bloody Bomme, 1972); Mädchen ohne Uniform (Girl Without Uniform, 1981); Feuergefährlich: Gedichte und Erzählungen für Frauen und Männer (Inflammatory: Poems and Stories for Men and Women, 1982); and Idleness is the Root of All Love (poems, published in English in 1991). Much of Reinig's work espoused a radical feminism that condemned the plundering nature of a male-driven society in both the East and West. Her satire and use of the grotesque have incited comparisons to the writings of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift, respectively.


Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature. 2nd ed. NY: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Kari Bethel , freelance writer, Columbia, Missouri