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Christa Wolf (1929–2011)

Author of Cassandra

114+ Works 4,963 Members 84 Reviews 19 Favorited

About the Author

Christa Wolf was born on March 18, 1929, in Landsberg, which is now Gorzow, Poland. Her father joined the Nazi Party and she became a member of the girls' version of the Hitler Youth. In 1949, she joined the Socialist Unity Party and studied German literature at universities in Jena and Leipzig. show more She wrote numerous novels during her lifetime including The Divided Heaven, The Quest for Christa T., A Model Childhood, and Cassandra. She won several awards including the Heinrich Mann Prize in 1963 and Thomas Mann Prize for literature in 2010. She died on December 1, 2011 at the age of 82. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Christa Wolf, 1963. Foto von Irene Eckleben. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0509-0010-006)


Works by Christa Wolf

Cassandra (1983) 705 copies
The Quest for Christa T. (1968) 608 copies
Medea (1996) 479 copies
Divided Heaven (1963) — Author — 422 copies
Patterns of Childhood (1976) 403 copies
No Place on Earth (1979) 273 copies
Accident: A Day's News (1989) 241 copies
What Remains (1990) 134 copies
One Day a Year: 1960 - 2000 (2003) 117 copies
Sommerstück (1989) 105 copies
In the Flesh (2002) 101 copies
Unter den Linden (1977) 53 copies
August (2012) 39 copies
Gesammelte Erzählungen (1980) 31 copies
One Day a Year: 2001 - 2011 (2013) 28 copies
Till Eulenspiegel (1972) 12 copies
Im Dialog (1990) 6 copies
Hicbir Yerde (1993) 4 copies
Erzählungen 3 copies
Incident 2 copies
Reden im Herbst (1990) 2 copies
Moskauer Novelle (1999) 2 copies
Il cielo diviso 2 copies
Bez mjesta ; Nigdje (1989) 2 copies
Ansprachen (1988) 2 copies
Medeja ; Kasandra (2003) 1 copy
changement d'optique (1986) 1 copy
2008 1 copy
Blickwechsel / Ausflug mit der Mutter (2004) — Author — 1 copy
Wolf Christa 1 copy
Izbrannoje (1988) 1 copy
Hotets dag (1987) 1 copy
Accident: A Day's News (1988) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Seventh Cross (1942) — Afterword, some editions — 801 copies
Transit (1944) — Afterword, some editions — 661 copies
Telling Tales (2004) — Contributor — 346 copies
Granta 33: What Went Wrong? (1990) — Contributor — 131 copies
Granta 42: Krauts! (1992) — Contributor — 130 copies
Rummelplatz (2007) — Foreword, some editions — 104 copies
February Shadows (1988) — Afterword, some editions — 22 copies
Frauen in der DDR : 20 Erzählungen (1976) — Author — 18 copies


(64) 1001 (41) 1001 books (40) 20th century (136) anthology (45) Belletristik (66) Christa Wolf (25) DDR (209) DDR-Literatur (27) Erzählung (27) essays (69) feminism (36) fiction (620) German (355) German fiction (51) German language (42) German literature (417) Germany (197) Granta (40) historical fiction (40) history (88) literature (171) Nazism (32) non-fiction (35) novel (225) NYRB (43) NYRB Classics (25) read (64) Roman (117) short stories (77) stories (32) to-read (344) translation (46) unread (38) Virago (40) Virago Modern Classics (29) war (25) women (48) WWII (101) xxx (27)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Wolf, Christa
Legal name
Wolf, Christa Ihlenfeld
Other names
Ihlenfeld, Christa (birth name)
Wolf, Christa Ihlenfeld
Date of death
Burial location
Dorotheenstadt Cemetery, Berlin, Germany
Country (for map)
Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany (now Poland)
Place of death
Berlin, Germany
Places of residence
Berlin, Germany
Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany
Mecklenburg, Germany
University of Jena
University of Leipzig
literary critic
Wolf, Gerhard (spouse)
German Writers' Union
Verlag Neues Leben
Mitteldeutscher Verlag
Neue deutsche Literatur
Awards and honors
Georg Büchner Preis (1980)
Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1984)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary ∙ Literature ∙ 1990)
Heinrich Mann Prize (1963)
Thomas Mann Prize for literature (2010)
Schiller Memorial Prize (1983) (show all 11)
Geschwister-Scholl-Preis (1987)
Elisabeth Langgässer Prize (1999)
Nelly Sachs Literature Prize (1999)
Deutscher Bücherpreis (2002)
Großer Literaturpreis der Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste (2010)
Short biography
Christa Wolf, née Ihlenfeld, was born in Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland). At the end of World War II, her family fled the advance of the Red Army and settled in Mecklenburg, in what would become the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or East Germany. She went to high school in Gammelin, near Schwerin, and studied literature at the University of Jena and the University of Leipzig. At age 20, she became a member of the Socialist Party. In 1951, she married Gerhard Wolf, a writer and fellow student. After graduation, she worked for the German Writers' Union and as an editor for a publishing company.

She first made her mark as a writer with the novel Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven) in 1963. Her subsequent works included Nachdenken über Christa T. (The Quest for Christa T., 1968), Kindheitsmuster (Patterns of Childhood, 1976), Kassandra (Cassandra, 1983), Störfall (Accident, 1987), Medea (1996), Auf dem Weg nach Tabou (On the Way to Taboo, 1994), and Stadt der Engel oder The Overcoat of Dr. Freud (City of Angels or The Overcoat of Dr. Freud, 2010).

By the 1980s, her realistic style and her feminism, as much as her open criticism of the GDR, had made her well-known in West Germany and internationally. She received numerous awards for her work, including the Heinrich Mann Prize (1963), the Georg Büchner Prize (1980), the Schiller Memorial Prize (1983), and the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis (1987). After German reunification, she was awarded the Elisabeth Langgässer Prize (1999) and the Nelly Sachs Literature Prize, and became the first recipient of the Deutscher Bücherpreis (German Book Prize) in 2002 for lifetime achievement. In 1993, the release of documents compiled by the GDR secret police known as the Stasi showed that she had informed on fellow authors from 1959 to 1962.



Një udhëtim i jashtëzakonshëm në mitin grek. Zëri i fuqishëm i Christa Wolf, na rrëfen në këtë libër të bukur jetën e princeshës fatthënëse, e bija e Priamit dhe Hekubës, para dhe pas rënies dramatike të qytetit të saj, Trojës, duke na sjellë Kasandrën, këtë personazh të jashtëzakonshëm, kompleks e që në penën e saj tingëllon aq modern.
BibliotekaFeniks | 13 other reviews | Feb 5, 2024 |
Trigger warning: Mild references to suicide

This short novel is an account of a fictional meeting between German writers Heinrich von Kleist and Karoline von Günderrode in 1804. Although it is possible that these two met, as they moved around similar circles, nothing is known about a possible meeting. The other people appearing in the story are real, though, too - among them famous writers Clemens von Brentano and Bettine von Arnim.
These writers and associates meet in a small town on the Rhine river where they drink, discuss their art and other topics, and socialize.
Kleist and Günderrode both feel like outsiders at the gathering, and the story is told alternating between each of their perspectives, while sometimes adding other paragraphs or sentences. The style is very poetic, sometimes truly like a poem, and every sentences carries meaning.
While Kleist and Günderrode first just observe each other and their interaction with the other guests, they later have a conversation during a walk outside. The conversations both at the party and during the walk touch upon many different topics: Psychology, the self, the role of art and artists, writing, expectations of life, gender, emancipation etc.
Kleist and Günderrode are connected in their despair because they cannot adjust to what is expected of them - Kleist as a man in the Prussian state who has a very different idea of life than those surrounding him, Günderrode as someone who would like to do much more than is possible for a woman of her time and who is patronized by male writers when they read her poetry. The title of the novel refers to the feeling that they cannot find any place where they can really be themselves, and there are allusions to the only way out they are able to see, which is suicide. In fact, both writers committed suicide, Günderrode in 1806 and Kleist in 1811.
Wolf was one of the most important writers of the GDR and many passages of this text can be seen in this light: The difficulties of writers living under that regime. To me, this political interpretation was not as relevant, though, and I concerned myself rather with the individual circumstances and with the feelings of the characters, and the parallels to today's society.
… (more)
MissBrangwen | 3 other reviews | Feb 7, 2021 |
When I picked up this novel, I had no idea what to expect.
It ended up being a novel that was interesting on one hand: reading about that day when Tsjernobyl happened. And the other major thing that occupies the main character's thoughts.

On the other hand I disliked the book, just because it small a book about thoughts. I got exhausted reading like my brain is working (most of the time), even though the brain & thoughts of this character were more organized than mine.
It was not a bad book, the form was well chosen, especially because it's a thin book. But it's also not a kind of book I'd be going back to soon.… (more)
BoekenTrol71 | 3 other reviews | Jul 18, 2020 |
"Wann Krieg beginnt, das kann man wissen, aber wann beginnt der Vorkrieg. Falls es da Regeln gäbe, müßte man sie weitersagen. In Ton, in Stein eingraben, überliefern. Was stünde da?
Da stünde, unter andern Sätzen: Laßt euch nicht von den Eignen täuschen."
Fredo68 | 13 other reviews | May 14, 2020 |



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