Wolf, Christa

(redirected from Christa Ihlenfeld)

Wolf, Christa

(krēs`tä vôlf), 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.

Wolf, Christa


Born March 18, 1929, in Landsberg. German writer (German Democratic Republic [GDR]).

Wolf studied German philology at Jena and Leipzig. In 1961 her work Moscow Novella was published. In the novel The Divided Sky (1963; Russian translation, 1964), Wolf writes of the complicated process of establishing socialist relations and morals in the GDR when there are two German states. The novella Meditations About Christa T. (1968), which is devoted to the problems of the contemporary intelligentsia, gave rise to disputes in the press. Wolfs prose is distinguished by deep psychologism in the portrayal of characters and sharp descriptions of social problems. She is also a literary critic and scriptwriter. Wolf was awarded the Heinrich Mann Prize (1963) and the National Prize of the GDR (1964).


“Blickwechsel.” In Der erste Augenblick der Freiheit. Rostock, 1970.


Simonian, L. “Liudi i Knigi.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1964, no. 1.
Klein, A. “Potrebnost’ v schast’e.” Voprosy literatury, 1965, no. 12.
Kharlap, L. “O tom, kak nakhodiat sebia.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1968, no. 10.
Schlenstedt, D. “Motive und Symbole in Christa Wolfs Erzahlung Der geteilte Himmel.” Weimarer Beiträge, 1964, no. 1.
Kähler, H. “Christa Wolf Elegie.” Sinn und Form, 1969, no. 1.


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