Review Of "Politics Of The Self : Feminism And The Postmodern In West German Literature And Film" By R. W. McCormick

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McCormick takes his definition of the term “postmodern” primarily from Linda Hutcheon's A Poetics of Postmodernism (CH, Oct'88). He interprets six West German literary or cinematic works from the period between 1968 and 1980 to illustrate the cultural turn from the “rigid theoretical orthodoxy” (p.71) characteristic of the Student Movement of the mid-60s to a renewed affirmation of subjectivity. For McCormick, three trends shape the postmodern panorama of these years: New Subjectivity (Peter Schneider's Lenz and Karin Struck's Class Love are examples); a pessimistic interiority (Devotion by Botho Strauss and Wrong Move by Peter Handke and Wim Wenders); and a “return to history” (the films Germany, Pale Mother, directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms, and The Subjective Factor, directed by Helke Sander). Through the representative nature of these choices and the broad scope informing his interpretations, McCormick does succeed in capturing the period. His book is plainly written, with vestiges of the dissertation in occasional awkwardness and redundancy, and has copious notes and an exhaustive bibliography. Two stills as illustrations. Suitable for upper-division undergraduates or graduate students.


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