pective womens' fronts, and emphatically denies any contradictions in history and society apart from the basic class contradiction between the exploiters and the exploited.
Leaving aside the diatribe, Gimus does seem to have formulated the major contradiction in Christa Wolfs argument. This contradiction arises because Christa Wolf does in fact, come very close to a radical feminist viewpoint by talking only of the division between men and women and by placing them into two opposing classes. On the other hand she claims that she is not falling prey to a reductionist view, and indeed warns against the trap of reductionist thinking. She reiterates that the development of society cannot be guided in a new direction simply by replacing the male myth with a famale myth; or when genuine advances in rational thought are rejected merely because they have come from men (115) She writes in a diary entry, that the way put of male dominated thought structures does mean a recourse to a feminine myth:
I read that the literature of the West is a self-reflection of the white man. Should now a self-reflection of the white woman be added to it ? And nothing further (84) ? ^
Christa Wolf does not consider this to be enough. She expresses sharp
Christa Wolfs attempt to go beyond feminism, while at the same time postulating a basic feminist view point, becomes very clear in this context. She shies away from the reductionist conclusions of bourgeois feminism, advocating a hypothetical amalgamation of the male and the female principles. This amalgamation, however, shares important structural similarities with the bourgeois feminist view point: ahistoricity, class neutrality, and an absolute divide between 'maleness' and 'femininity'. The fact of this similarity cannot be disguised by her claim to be against those who see femininity as a value in itself (116) or by expressing disagrement with much so-called 'feminist literature'.
To give Christa Wolf her due however, it must be stated that there is a considerable difference between her writing and the general trend of feminist literature in the West. The common aim of texts belonging to this category is to portray the suffering of women under male dominated structures. An attempt is made on a highly individualised basis to project 'authentic' feminine experiences and emotions. In a novel called Shedding which found tremendous resonance amongst West German feminists, the writer Verena Stefan attempts to analyse a part other personal life. Accompanied by a detailed description of varying emotions she shows her failure in establishing any meaningful relationships with men, and how she ultimately turns to women, where he interpersonal relations become fulfilling. A large number of feminist texts follow this pattern, of very subjective narration, the implication being, that all women can identify with the problems articulated. This raises private conflicts into the sphere of a specific group identity. All this subjectivity lacks a productive quality—productivity in relationship to a society which needs to be changed.
82 • Number 9