The first English translation of the novel by the cult voice of East German feminist literature introduces author Brigitte Lyman to new audiences in 2023, nearly 50 years after her death.
Lyman’s 1963 work Siblings (Die Geschwister) will be published in the UK and US in February, on the anniversary of her untimely death. Considered an epoch-making classic of East German literature, she wrote it in her late twenties after the Berlin Wall was built, to help post-war generations build a bright and beautiful future based on ideals. It tells of a young woman’s ardent belief in the attempt to Socialism and the heartbreaking effects of her fixation on her projects conflict with her brother’s views and affect her family’s cohesion.
“Her voice is truly modern and bold. Her excitement is contagious, so what sticks in your mind is not her obsession with a particular idea of socialism, but her passion for what the future should be like.” It’s a radical, youthful belief,” said Lucy Jones. Penguin has translated a 129-page novel that will be released on February 2nd as part of its Modern Classics series. I think it’s a fitting novel for the times.”
The Berlin-based translator and writer spent years securing publisher interest in an English version of the novel. She is deeply committed to Ryman’s work, having already translated I Have No Regrets, the first volume of her candid, often funny, life-affirming diary, in 2019, in which the writer ” It sums up what he described as an intense lump of life. Sedition, gossip and complex conspiracies.”
In it, a woman who told one of her four husbands, “I can’t live without the euphoria of a new love,” was a romantic escape from a brief but dazzling life that also plagued polio. contains a lot of Portraying the everyday realities of socialist Germany, she details her time spent as a state artist in an industrial factory in the new town of Hoyerswerda, where she held writing classes for workers. Her stint on factory floors breathed black soot-like air that may have caused the cancer that ended her life: wearing her lipstick while at work The contempt she attracted.
Ka Bradley, commissioned editor of Penguin Classics, said: She is an exciting but strangely overlooked author who has never been out of print in Germany, but still has a sense of discovery. to present it not as a cold, gray, dark place confined to history, but in a very generous, generous and precocious way that looked at the wider world. Diverse readership. ”
Considered largely autobiographical, Sibring began writing in 1960 about the painful idea that Lyman’s own brother had become disillusioned with East Germany and fled to the West, where she would lose him to “another Germany.” It started when
Compared to writers Carson McCullers and Edna O’Brien, and counting Anna Segers and Ernest Hemingway among literary heroes, Lyman became a cult figure with a reputation similar to that of the beatnik poet.
Her best-known novel, Franziska Linkerhand, which Jones describes as “Germany’s history given in the form of a love letter,” was incomplete when she died, but was published in 1974. Sometimes it became a bestseller. Written primarily as a stream of consciousness, it focuses on a young aspiring architect to create a humane urban construction in a new town in East Germany despite the obstacles put up by her colleagues. trying to make her dream come true.
The novel’s development reflects Lyman’s own growing disappointment with the everyday realities of socialism. She later called herself a “gullible fool” regarding her former communism enthusiasm.
Lyman’s book was heavily censored by East German authorities. It was only in the last 25 years that the original, uncensored version was made more widely available to the public in new publications of her work. It’s a phenomenon that helps create a new generation of fans.
Her books portrayed everyday life in East Germany very openly, told through the specific perspective of women, and played an important role in the country, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, as they were critically sought after by East German citizens. fulfilled. Investigate the rationale behind the land that held or confined them, depending on your perspective. In the post-communist era, they also provided insight to younger generations trying to understand their own mothers’ attitudes toward the socialist state in which they grew up.
Carolyn Würfel, a journalist and writer from Leipzig with a particular focus on feminism and East Germany, was three years old when the Berlin Wall fell.
Würfel’s recent non-fiction book, Three Women Who Dreamed of Socialism, examines the close friendship between East German literary mogul Christa Wolf and novelist Maxi Vander. Their lives, like many women in East Germany, were far more liberal than those in the West, and they were and still are objects of fascination and inspiration.
“Ryman was part of a generation where women enjoyed equal pay and had abortion and divorce rights…she lived alone, smoked weed, listened to jazz, cut her hair short and , women in the West could neither obtain jobs nor vote without their husbands’ permission, and were often held back, which is why Ryman’s work gained considerable support in the West as well.”
However, when East Germany was annexed by the West after reunification, much of the country’s culture, including writers like Lyman, was also buried, “viciously robbing the people of their confidence” in the process.
“The story of Germany as a whole was very clear in the direction of erasing, forgetting, or minimizing Touhou, and that included the cultural and literary scene and the players within it. Lyman’s early death left her largely forgotten, after all her books seem to idealize dictatorships, and people say, ‘What you did is inherently wrong.’ Because I was told, I was encouraged to leave my values and cultural heritage behind.”
Würfel said he only recently realized the magnitude of Reimann’s impact.
“Especially women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who come to me while reading my book and say ‘Thank you for bringing back the heroes of our youth’. He said, I just realized how heartbroken that generation is.” There it is. This was not about her politics, but about the fact that she made our hearts beat, she taught both Eastern and Western women how to live her life. In short, she was one of the coolest chicks in town. ”
Meanwhile, Lyman’s discoveries and rediscoveries continue. Franziska Linkerhand has recently adapted to the stage. In October, Lyman’s unpublished debut novel, Die Denunziantin (The Accused), was published for the first time. This was abandoned by Lyman as she began writing at the age of 19 and was so heavily censored that it was discovered in her archives by Lyman in Neubrandenburg. Editor and she is by Reimann specialist Kristina Stella.
Bradley and Jones, meanwhile, have their sights set on future translations. “I feel very protective of her and want to be ambitious for her, especially now that she’s at the center of the cultural conversation again.” Her Franziska on page 600 Linkerhand is like a doorstop, but it should be the next page.”