Author's Final Manuscript
Against a background of the feminist appropriation of the witch taking place concurrently in second-wave American, French and West German feminism, the paper examines Sarah Kirsch’s appropriation of the witch as a subversive figure in her poetry cycle Zaubersprüche (Conjurations, 1973). In subverting the traditional image of the witch, Kirsch establishes a new one: that of a feminist witch and a feminist witch-writer. The witch is both the fictive character created by Kirsch, and her own self-designation; in the latter case, writing, especially writing in the experimental fashion, is a form of witchcraft. The paper analyzes the poems using the theoretical concept of magical realism. Although magical realism is mostly associated with post-colonial studies, it proves to be an apposite mode for feminist studies as well. The magical realist modality contradicts the state-sanctioned aesthetic of socialist realism, a fact that makes Kirsch one of the subversive “GDR-Witches.”
Shen, Qinna. 2009. “Shedding, Witchcraft, and the Romantic Subject: Feminist Appropriation of the Witch in Sarah Kirsch’s.” Neophilologus 93.4: 675-689.