n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Gewalt, Geschlecht und Gesellschaft in Helene Böhlaus Roman

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



The texts of the author Helene Böhlau were read more during her lifetime than today. 2004, after more than sixty years of invisibility, they were reprinted in small numbers. In the meantime cultural gender-studies have been established in universities and this allows us to reread Helene Böhlau analytically and to test the quality of her work. Contemplating the aspect of violence in her novel Halbtier! shows a gender-sensitive critique of society. Although the discourse of gender specific violence is now much wider and more open than it was during the Wilhelmine Empire, nevertheless the sensitivity for this topic is still relatively low in great parts of a society still dominated by males. Helene Böhlau's novel Halbtier! is interspersed with gender specific forms of violence and an obvious accusation against any form of discrimination of women at any time. The results of the analysis of the narrative text, guided by social science theories and carried out under the aspect of gender, testifies to the actuality of the text and its detailed description of historical gender relations, and a comprehensive and differentiated portrayal of physical and psychological, direct and indirect, latent and manifest, structural and cultural forms of violence in the society surrounding the protagonist.

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