Why Stay? Shifting Perspectives on 'Inner Emigration' and Resistance in the Works of Elfriede Brüning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the shifting perspectives on ‘inner emigration’ and resistance to fascism in the works of the East German writer, Elfriede Brüning. Focusing on two fictional texts, ...damit du weiterlebst (1949) and Septemberreise (1974) and one explicitly autobiographical work, Und außerdem war es mein Leben (1994), the chapter analyses Brün¬ing’s present¬ation of different forms of opposition to Nazism. Drawing on state¬ments by the author external to the primary texts, the position of these three works in Brüning’s autobiographical project is considered. In particular, the chapter examines tensions in Brüning’s presentation of female re¬sistance to fascism across the three works and the conflict between nar¬rative identities based on political commitment to antifascism and those based on a gendered commitment to familial ties. It is argued that a comparison of autobiography and self-reflexive fiction can elucidate tensions in the author’s self-understanding by highlighting the ways in which she explores different aspects of her identity and experience across different narrative personae.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Self in Transition
Subtitle of host publicationEast German Autobiographical Writing Before and After Unification. Essays in Honour of Dennis Tate
EditorsDavid Clarke, Axel Goodbody
Place of PublicationAmsterdam - New York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-90-420-3593-5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Publication series

NameGerman Monitor


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