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Christa Wolf

Wolf, Christa (krēsˈtä vôlf) [key], 1929–2011, German novelist. After attending the universities of Jena and Leipzig, she worked as an editor of literary journals. A committed communist in her early life, she won the approval of the East German government with her novel Divided Heaven (1963, tr. 1965). Her semiautobiographical novel, The Quest for Christa T. (1968, tr. 1972), which was critical of East German society and ideals, earned her criticism at home but a reputation as a complex writer abroad. Many of her novels, including No Place on Earth (1979, tr. 1982), mixed fact and fiction as they affirmed the needs of individuals, particularly women, in East Germany's destructive society. Her claim to the moral high ground was undermined in the early 1990s when it was revealed that she had been a secret police informant from 1959 to 1962, but she maintained she had revealed nothing of use. Wolf's other writings include Cassandra (1983, tr. 1984), A Model Childhood (1977, tr. 1980), What Remains and Other Stories (1980, tr. 1993), The Author's Dimension: Selected Essays (tr. 1993), Medea (1996, tr. 1998), and the autobiographical novel City of Angels (2010, tr. 2013), her final work, in which she attempts to come to terms with her East German past.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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