Wohmann, Gabriele (1932—)

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Wohmann, Gabriele (1932—)

German writer . Born Gabriele Guyot on May 21, 1932, in Darmstadt, Germany; daughter of Paul Daniel Guyot and Luise (Lettermann) Guyot; educated at the University of Frankfurt; married Reiner Wohmann, in 1953.

Received the Literary Prize of the City of Bremen (1971); elected to Berlin Academy of Art (1975); elected to Academy of Language and Literature (1980); awarded West German Order of Merit (1980).

Selected writings:

Abschied für länger (A Farewell for a Long Time, 1965); Die grosse Liebe (True Love, 1966); Landliches Fest und andere Erzählungen (Country Party and Other Stories, 1968); Paulinchen war allein zu Haus (Paulinchen Was Home Alone, 1974); Schönes Gehege (Beautiful Enclosure, 1975); Frühherbst in Badenweiler (Early Fall in Badenweiler, 1978); Der Flötenton (Sound of a Flute, 1987); Aber das war noch nicht das Schlimmste (But That Was Not Yet the Worst, 1998); Frauen machens am späten Nachmittag: Sommergeschichten (Summer Stories, 2000).

Novelist Gabriele Wohmann was born in 1932 in Darmstadt, Germany, the daughter of Luise Lettermann Guyot and Paul Guyot, a parson. As she grew up during the Third Reich, her anti-fascist parents tried to shield her from Nazi propaganda and encouraged her education. After finishing high school in Norden, she studied German and foreign literatures and philosophy for three years at the University of Frankfurt. She left college in 1953 to marry another Frankfurt student, Reiner Wohmann. The Wohmanns taught for a year at a private school on the North Sea island of Langeroog, then took new teaching positions in Gabriele's native Darmstadt.

In 1956, Wohmann successfully submitted her first short story, "Ein unwiderstehlicher Mann" (An Irresistible Man), for publication. The critical acclaim which followed led her to quit teaching in order to write full-time in 1957. Three volumes of short stories appeared in 1958, 1960, and 1963, securely establishing Wohmann as a leading figure in modern German literature. Since 1957 she has been a prolific writer, publishing short stories, novels, plays, and poetry as well as essays. Typical of postwar German literature, most of Wohmann's works are realistic in setting and pessimistic in theme, centering on the domestic conflicts of ordinary people. Deeply influenced by Irish novelist James Joyce, Wohmann has produced many works using Joyce's stream-of-consciousness narrative style. More recent works have addressed social issues such as drug abuse. Critics have consistently praised the depth of her characters and the universality of her themes, such as love, the fear of death, and loneliness. In 1974, her first television screenplay, "Entziehung" (Withdrawal), was produced, with Wohmann herself playing a drug addict in the film.

Her work has brought her numerous awards. In 1971 she won the Literature Prize of the City of Bremen, and she was elected to the Berlin Academy of Art in 1975. In 1980, she was elected to the Academy for Language and Literature

and was awarded the West German Order of Merit. Although they frequently travel to the United States and across Europe, the Wohmanns still make their home in Darmstadt.


Bédé, Jean-Albert, and William B. Edgerton, eds. Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature. 2nd ed. NY: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Elfe, Wolfgang D., and James Hardin, eds. Contemporary German Fiction Writers. 2nd series. Detroit, MI: Gale Research.

Laura York , M.A. in History, University of California, Riverside, California