Life-writing on the edge of conformity: 'Mutters Geburtstag' by Laure Wyss

Burns, B. (2015) Life-writing on the edge of conformity: 'Mutters Geburtstag' by Laure Wyss. Orbis Litterarum, 70(4), pp. 328-343. (doi:10.1111/oli.12072)

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Abstract

Mutters Geburtstag (1978) was the first novel published by the German-Swiss writer Laure Wyss. Composed just after the author's retirement from a distinguished career in journalism and broadcasting, the work blurs the boundaries of genre by combining elements of travel writing and of the autobiographical novel. This article examines the complexity of a novel in which two seemingly unconnected narrative strands are in fact subtly interdependent and allow a self-reflective reconstruction of the writer's past. Through the persona of her nonconformist protagonist, Wyss challenges institutions and conventions that are inimical to equality in Swiss society, and she explores the link between her maternal role and her ruptured relationship with her own mother. In this novel of the late 1970s Wyss taps into a growing international consciousness among women writers of the need to summon courage to articulate their suffering as a means to both personal freedom and social change.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burns, Dr Barbara
Authors: Burns, B.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Journal Name:Orbis Litterarum
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN:0105-7510
ISSN (Online):1600-0730

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