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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAs one of the most significant postmodern writers in contemporary Germany, Libuse Monikova critically explores the political divisions of Europe from different perspectives, using an interdisciplinary approach to educate her reader. All her works relate either directly or indirectly to her native Czecho-Slovakia. This dissertation focuses on four of Monikova's works, Prager Fenster, "Tetom and Tuba," Pavane fur eine verstorbene Infantin, and Der Taumel, and examines her understanding of the densely layered concept of Heimat. Monikova depicts her Heimat construct through the metaphor of disability and disease as a landscape of German and Soviet occupations and as a territory of historically and politically rooted power struggles. Her analysis of the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from the former Czecho-Slovakia as well as her portrayal of Czech complicity in the totalitarian regime redefines concepts of victimization and resistance, and reveals the unstable discursive nature of subordination and domination. Monikova's concept of Heimat cannot be fully understood without the inclusion of minority and gender discourses as well as art as cultural space. This study underscores Monikova's analysis of the situation of women and minorities in her country of origin. Monikova makes transparent the kind of masculine superiority that is comfortably ensconced not only in Czecho-Slovak society, but also in western epistemologies. Her dynamic, witty, and politically alert female figures are independent intellectuals with vitriolic humor who offer a fresh alternative to ideological and dogmatic idealism that prevails in many feminist texts of the 1970s. Furthermore, I attempt to show how Monikova, an author who emphasizes a decentralized perspective of writing through otherness and displacement, portrays minorities living in her Heimat. Methodologically, I include theories of Czech, Slovak, German, and US cultural critics in my study. Consequently, I seek to not only [re]discover Monikova as a writer and political activist in the Czech Republic where her texts began to be published only recently, but also to engage her critics in a constructive inter-cultural dialogue.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies