Women and Death

October 2008
26 black and white illustrations
278 pages
8.75x5.75 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571133854
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, SOC028000, HIS014000

Women and Death

Representations of Female Victims and Perpetrators in German Culture 1500-2000

Edited by Helen Fronius, Anna Linton

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Identifies and analyzes thematizations of women and death from the past five centuries, illuminating the present and recent past.
The theme of women and death is pervasive in the German culture of the past five centuries. With the conviction that only an interdisciplinary approach can explore a typology as far-reaching and significant as this, and in accordance with the feminist tenet that images are accountable for norms, this volume investigates how iconic representations of women and death came about and why they endure. Traditionally, representations of women as agents of death -- when they have been considered at all -- have been considered separately from women as victims, as though there was no shared thematic ground. Here, familiar depictions of female victims are examined alongside the more unsettling spectacle of women as killers, exposing cultural assumptions. Essays explore, among others, the themes of virgin sacrifice and female infanticides, "Death and the Maiden" in art, female vampires in literature, and women killers in the media. Others compare cultural practices such as female mourning across historical contexts, examining change and the reasons for it. The authors' judgments eschew the simplistic and programmatic, contributing not just to current research in German literature, but also to understanding of cultural history in general.

Contributors: Stephanie Knöll, Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Anna Linton, Bettina Bildhauer, Mary Lindemann, Helen Fronius, Anna Richards, Jürgen Barkhoff, Lawrence Kramer, Kathrin Hoffmann-Curtius, Clare Bielby, Gisela Ecker.

Anna Linton is Lecturer in German at Kings College London, and Helen Fronius is an AHRC Research Fellow and College Lecturer at Exeter College Oxford.

Table of Contents

Death and the Maiden: A German Topic? - Stefanie Knoll
Murdering Mothers in Bible Stories and Fairy Tales in Germany, 1550-1900 - Ruth B Bottigheimer
Virgin Sacrifices: Iphigenia and Jepthah's Daughter - Anna Linton
Mourning and Violence: Kriemhild's Incorporated Memory - Bettina Bildhauer
Narratives of Dismembering Women in Northern Germany, 1600-1800 - Mary Lindemann
Images of Infanticide in Eighteenth-Century Germany - Helen Fronius
Mourning with a Female Heart? Grief and Gender in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany - Anna Richards
Female Vampires, Victimhood, and Vengeance in German Literature around 1800 - Jürgen Barkhoff
Murderous Women in German Opera - Lawrence Kramer
Constructing the femme fatale: A dialogue between Sexology and the Visual Arts in Germany around 1900 - Kathrin Hoffmann-Curtius
Media Representations of Vera Brühne as femme fatale - Clare Bielby
Gender in the Work of Grief and Mourning: Contemporary Requiems in German Literature - Gisela Ecker


[T]he essays . . . allow us . . . to discern . . . a clear intervention in and upending of conventional timetables and assumptions, particularly in terms of women's agency and where we might expect to find it. MONATSHEFTE

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