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‘Direkt aus dem Krieg in die Liebe’: Depictions of the ‘Heimatfront’ in the Early Prose of Claire Goll

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalGerman Life and Letters
Volume72
Issue number1
DOIs
Accepted/In press22 Oct 2018
Published16 Jan 2019

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Abstract

This article examines the early prose of Claire Goll (1890-1977), who spent the duration of the First World War in political exile in Switzerland. Focusing on the short story collection Die Frauen erwachen (1918) as well as Goll’s journalistic writing, the article explores how her engagement with contemporary Heimat discourse, and above all her depiction of the war-time ‘Heimatfront’, is linked to her pacifist stance. Analysis of Goll’s adaptation and transformation of conventional Heimat imagery can shed light on her criticism of the war and her condemnation of women’s support for it. Goll exposes the patriotic Heimat idyll as a social construct which is performed by men and women in an attempt to distract themselves from the reality of the conflict. She condemns the restrictive gender roles and the jingoistic, militarist culture with which the Heimat ideal is associated. Overall, the article argues that Goll seeks to develop an alternative understanding of Heimat as the foundation for a new, internationalist politics.

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