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kristiw
Registered User
(9/12/07 8:53 pm)


Contemporary German poetry with mythic themes
Hello folks,
I'm looking to do some German to English translations of poetry and short fiction. I favor folkloric/mythic themes in my English poetry--I love Yeats, Anne Sexton, and (:8[) most of the Romantics-- so I was wondering if anyone had any worthy suggestions, either fairly contemporary or obscure enough to have been left alone. Any recommendations for German poetry and short fiction that deserves to be available to an English speaking readership?

Terri Windling
Registered User
(9/25/07 2:36 am)


Re: Contemporary German poetry with mythic themes
There were quite a lot of women writers of literary fairy tales in Germany, many of whose works have not been translated. Fredericke Helene Unger, Karoline Auguste Fischer, and Therese Huber, for example, all wrote and published fairy tale works in Germany from 1800 to 1810, using fairy tales as a form of social critique, just as French salon writers did. The German Romantic movement produced a number of women fairy tale authors, including Sophie Tieck Bernhardi, Karoline von Günderrode, Julie Berger, and Sophie Albrecht.

Most interesting of all, in 1843 a group of women intellectuals gathered in Berlin to create a women’s conversation salon modeled after the fairy tale salons of Paris, meeting weekly between 1843 and ’48 (when the Revolution forced them to disband). The women of the Kaffeterkreis, as it was called, presented stories, art work, musical compositions – all submitted anonymously – and performed their own fairy tale plays for audiences that included the Prussian monarch. Gisela von Arnim, daughter of the Heidelberg Circle writers Achim and Bettina von Arnim, was a founding member of this group, and one of its most notable authors. In addition to publishing short fairy tales that look at the Grimms’ material from a female perspective, Gisela von Arnim was the author of an extraordinary fairy tale novel, The Life Story of the High Countess Gritta, co-authored with her mother -- a distinctly feminist tale about a brave and independent girl who makes her way through a series of trials, eventually ending up on an enchanted island with eleven young female cohorts. (This was translated and published a few years ago, if I'm remembering correctly.)

All in all, as fairy tale historians Jeannine Blackwell and Shawn C. Jarvis have documented, German women published over two hundred fairy tale collections from 1845 and 1900, far out-numbering their male colleagues. Yet a full history of German women’s tales of the period has yet to be published.

I'm not a German scholar so I don't have much more information on this. The little I do know comes from:

The Queen's Mirror: Fairy Tales by German Women, 1780-1900 by Shawn C. Jarvis and Jeannine Blackwell

Bitter Healing: German Women Writers, 1700-1830, by Jeannine Blackwell and Susanne Zantop

“Laying the Rod to Rest” by Jeannine Blackwell, Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies, Volume II, Number 1

Edited by: Terri Windling at: 9/25/07 2:37 am

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