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“Also mein allerliebster redette ihre Sapho mit dem Kriege”: literary role-play in the war poetry of Anna Louisa Karsch

Pilsworth, E. (2016) “Also mein allerliebster redette ihre Sapho mit dem Kriege”: literary role-play in the war poetry of Anna Louisa Karsch. German Life and Letters, 69 (3). pp. 302-320. ISSN 1468-0483

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/glal.12121

Abstract/Summary

Anna Louisa Karsch stylised herself as an uneducated peasant poet possessing natural genius, moved by her ʻfeminineʼ passions and ignorant of literary conventions. As a result of her successful self-presentation, until recently scholars have not fully grasped the ways in which she engaged in literary role-play in her poems – instead often reading her works autobiographically or as statements of authentic personal feeling. By demonstrating some of the contradicting viewpoints her poems express on the topic of the ongoing Seven Yearsʼ War, this article should prove two things. Firstly, that Karsch was acutely aware of poetic techniques and genre conventions, employing and citing a variety of literary traditions; and secondly, that by playing different literary roles in her poems, making use of classical, biblical and popular genres, she approaches the topic of war from a variety of perspectives that cannot be reduced to one of simple patriotism, as has been done by most Karsch scholars since her lifetime. In short, I argue that the ʻvoicesʼ in her poems should not be automatically conflated with the authorʼs own.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > German
ID Code:79572
Additional Information:This article was awarded the Women in German Studies (WIGS) postgraduate essay prize in 2015
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell

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