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Clara Viebig, Berlin, 1890

Clara Viebig (July 17, 1860–July 31, 1952) was a German naturalistic writer. She rose to fame with her Eifel novels, which depict the life of ordinary people in Eifel region in a realistic fashion and touching upon social and gender issues. Her most famous Eifel novel Das Weiberdorf ("village of women", 1900) caused a literary scandal due to its frank description of the sexual behaviour and desires of women and got indexed by the Catholic Church. Shortly after 1900 she had become a household name and was one of the most read writers in German speaking countries at the time. Much later her literary career took a severe blow when she was temporarily blocked from publishing during Nazi Germany. After World War II she was largely forgotten by the general audiences and died impoverished in East Berlin. However roughly two decades after the war she became the subject of scholarly interest again. While many of novels remained out of print, there was a renewed interest in her as a local color writer (Heimatschriftsteller) for the Eifel region, which lead to a republication of many of her Eifel novels after 2000.

Life[edit]

Clara's parents were both ethnic Germans from the Prussian Province Posen. Her father Ernst Viebig was the son of squire and made himself a career as a Prussian magistrate. Her mother Clara (nee Langer) grew up in protestant clerical family. In 1848 Ernst Viebig was send as a delegate of Posen to the Frankfurt Parliament (national assembly of the 1848 revolution) and after that he worked as a magistrate in Prussia's Rhine Province, where he was stationed first in Trier and later in Düsseldorf. Clara had two much older brothers. Only one of them lived with the family. The other one, whom she never met, was an epileptic, who spent his life in the care of the Bethel Institution.



[1][2][3]



ancestry + parents (from pisen, Frankfurt, Trier, Düsseldorf), clara childhood and school, uncle mathui, death of father move to pBerline, attempt to become a singer, being forced to work for a living, first short stories, contact to Fonate and Cohn, plays and novels about the eifel first success, move to villa, literary circles, WWI sightly disconnect from literary circles during weimar, honours in 1930, threat of presecution under nazis, blocked from publication, renaming if a street in düsseldorf, emigration of son and death of husband, trip to brazil, return to Germany, edited republuication of some works, distant realtive of Göring, move to selesia, back to berlin, support by the east german government, death


She was born in the German city of Trier, the daughter of a Prussian civil servant.She was related to Herman Goering. At the age of eight, the family moved to Düsseldorf where Clara attended school. At the age of twenty, after her father died, Clara moved to Berlin with her mother. She was married to the Jewish publisher Fritz Theodor Cohn in 1896. The following year, Clara began a successful career as a writer and her works became much admired.

Work[edit]

Das Weiberdorf[edit]

Das Schlafende Heer[edit]

In her novel the "Dormant Army"/"Sleeping Army" (original title "Das Schlafende Heer"), published in 1903 Viebig praised conquest of Polish territories by German settlers, and warned of "dangers" posed by Polish minority in Germany, which she characterised as "disloyal" and "uncultured", left unchecked, she warned-Poles would overwhelm Germany and thus need to be controlled, repressed and assimilated[4]. This novel became a bestseller in German Empire in 1904 and 1905, and besides "Die Wacht am Rhein" was her most read novel[5].

In the "Sleeping Army" she depicted the alleged racial division between Poles and Germans, focusing on character of Polish women, obsessing with distinction between blonde and black, white and dark and portraying them as plotting demise of German men, who need to be warned in advance[6]. The Poles were living according to Viebig in a state of "animalistic and barbaric state", from which only German "civilizing mission" could save them, the solution to this "Polish problem" was exclusive colonization(preferably combined with expulsions), Viebig warned that "polish degeneracy" was "contagious"[7] Kristin Kopp from University of Missouri writes that Viebig's novel represents a "prominent example" of narrative strategy that presents Polish characters whose external "whiteness", conceals hidden "blackness", which allows them to infiltrate German culture and undermine German colonial projects[8].

Legacy & Reception[edit]

streets, clara viebig society (1992), scholarly interest, local color, museum/exhibition, rhein-mosel verlag,early feminist and social writer, naturalism and realism , 74 der 100 größten Rheinlad pfälzer, Brunnen in Eisenschmitt, Clara Viebug zentrum

left over[edit]

She was born in the German city of Trier, the daughter of a Prussian civil servant.She was related to Herman Goering. At the age of eight, the family moved to Düsseldorf where Clara attended school. At the age of twenty, after her father died, Clara moved to Berlin with her mother. She was married to the Jewish publisher Fritz Theodor Cohn in 1896. The following year, Clara began a successful career as a writer and her works became much admired.

As her fame faded, in 1933 she published "Insel der Hoffnung" which condemned Weimar Republic and praised colonization of border with Poland[9]


Works[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Dilettanten des Lebens, 1897 (online copy)
  • Rheinlandstöchter, 1897
  • Vor Tau und Tag, 1898
  • Dilettanten des Lebens, 1899 (online copy)
  • Es lebe die Kunst, 1899
  • Das Weiberdorf, 1899 (online copy)
  • Das tägliche Brod, 1900
  • Die Wacht am Rhein, 1902 (online copy)
  • Vom Müller Hannes, 1903
  • Das schlafende Heer, 1904 (online copy)
  • Einer Mutter Sohn, 1906 (online copy)
  • Absolvo te!, 1907
  • Das Kreuz im Venn, 1908 (online copy)
  • Die vor den Toren, 1910
  • Das Eisen im Feuer, 1913
  • Eine Handvoll Erde, 1915 (online copy)
  • Töchter der Hekuba, 1917
  • Das rote Meer, 1920
  • Unter dem Freiheitsbaum, 1922 (online copy)
  • Menschen und Straßen, 1923
  • Der einsame Mann, 1924
  • Franzosenzeit, 1925
  • Die goldenen Berge, 1928
  • Charlotte von Weiß, 1929
  • Die mit den tausend Kindern, 1929
  • Prinzen, Prälaten und Sansculotten, 1931
  • Menschen unter Zwang, 1932
  • Insel der Hoffnung, 1933
  • Der Vielgeliebte und die Vielgehaßte, 1935

Short stories & novellas[edit]

  • Kinder der Eifel, 1897 (online copy)
  • Vor Tau und Tag, 1898
  • Die Rosenkranzjungfer, 1900
  • Die heilige Einfalt, 1910
  • Heimat, 1914
  • West und Ost, 1920
  • Samson und Delila (online copy)

Plays[edit]

  • Barbara Holzer, 1896
  • Die Pharisäer, 1899 (online copy)
  • Kampf um den Mann, 1903 (online copy)
  • Das letzte Glück, 1909
  • Pittchen, 1909


[1][10][11][2][12][13][14][3]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Christel Aretz (Hrsg.): Clara Viebig im Spiegel der Presse. Dokumentation. Mosel-Eifel-Verlag, Bad Bertrich 2000, ISBN 3-932838-06-8
  • Michel Durand: Les romans Berlinois de Clara Viebig (1860-1952). Contribution à l'étude du naturalisme tardif en Allemagne. (= Contacts; Série 3, Etudes et documents; 19). Lang, Bern u. a. 1993, ISBN 3-906750-84-1
  • Anke Susanne Hoffmann: Von den Rändern her gelesen - Analysen und Kommentare zur Funktionalität der Dimension „Natur“ im novellistischen Œuvre Clara Viebigs. Dissertation, Universität Trier 2005 (Volltext)
  • Barbara Krauß-Theim: Naturalismus und Heimatkunst bei Clara Viebig. Darwinistisch-evolutionäre Naturvorstellungen und ihre ästhetischen Reaktionsformen. Lang, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 1992, ISBN 3-631-44812-0
  • Urszula Michalska: Clara Viebig. Versuch einer Monographie. (= Prace Wydzialu Filologicznego; Seria Filologia germańska; 6). Poznan 1968
  • Andrea Müller: Mutterfiguren und Mütterlichkeit im Werk Clara Viebigs. Tectum, Marburg 2002, ISBN 3-8288-8346-X
  • Maria-Regina Neft: Clara Viebigs Eifelwerke (1897-1914). Imagination und Realität bei der Darstellung einer Landschaft und ihrer Bewohner. (= Bonner kleine Reihe zur Alltagskultur; 4). Waxmann, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-89325-653-9
  • Volker Neuhaus,Michel Durand (Hrsg.): Die Provinz des Weiblichen. Zum erzählerischen Werk von Clara Viebig = Terroirs au féminin. (= Convergences; 26). Lang, Bern u. a. 2004, ISBN 3-906770-17-6
  • Gottlieb Scheufler: Clara Viebig. Beute, Erfurt 1927
  • Carola Stern, Ingke Brodersen: Kommen Sie, Cohn!. Kiepenheuer und Witsch, Köln 2006, ISBN 3-462-03724-2 (Doppelbiografie und Familiengeschichte von Fritz Theodor Cohn und Clara Viebig)
  • Charlotte Marlo Werner: Schreibendes Leben. Die Dichterin Clara Viebig. MEDU-Verlag, Dreieich 2009, ISBN 978-3-938926-77-2

External links[edit]

Texts by Clara Viebig being available online[edit]


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Walter Olma: Das Polenbild im deutschen Heimatroman. Clara Viebigs Erfolgsroman "Das schlafende Heer" als Beispiel. In Hendrik Feindt: Studien zur Kulturgeschichte des deutschen Polenbildes, 1848-1939. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag 1995, ISBN 3447036648, pp. 103-130 (online copy, p. 103, at Google Books)
  2. ^ a b Elizabeth Boa, Rachel Palfreyman: Heimat: a German dream : regional loyalties and national identity in German culture, 1890-1990. Oxford University Press 2000, ISBN 0198159234, pp. 41-57 (online copy, p. 41, at Google Books)
  3. ^ a b Rolf Löchel: Clara Viebig at FemBio (retrieved 2011-6-6)
  4. ^ The Borders of Integration: Polish Migrants in Germany and the United States, 1870-1924 (Polish and Polish American Studies), Brian Joseph McCook,page 130-131,Ohio University Press, 2011)
  5. ^ Tanz der Feder: künstlerische Produktivität in Romanen von Autorinnen um 1900, page 111, Sonja Dehning, 2000,Königshausen & Neumann
  6. ^ Germany's colonial pasts,Eric Ames, Marcia Klotz, Lora Wildenthal, page 86-88, University of Nebraska Press 2005
  7. ^ Germany's colonial pasts,Eric Ames, Marcia Klotz, Lora Wildenthal, page 89-90, University of Nebraska Press 2005
  8. ^ German Colonialism and National Identity Michael Perraudin, Jürgen Zimmererm,page 38, Routledge 2010
  9. ^ Literatura niemiecka o Polsce w latach 1918-1939, Jan Chodera,page 49,Wydawnictwo Śląsk, 1969
  10. ^ Kristin Kopp: Constructing Racial Difference in Colonial Poland. In Eric Ames, Marcia Klotz, Lora Wildenthal: Germany's Colonial Pasts. University of Nebraska Press 2005, ISBN 0803248199, pp. 76-96 (online copy, p. 76, at Google Books)
  11. ^ Kristin Kopp: Grey Zones: On the Inclusion of "Poland" in the Study of German Colonialism. In Michael Perraudin, Jürgen Zimmerer: German Colonialism and National Identity. Taylor & Francis 2009, ISBN 9780415964777, pp. 33-44 (online copy, p. 33, at Google Books)
  12. ^ Bettina Leuchtenberg: “In der Eifel bedrohte man mich” at 16 vor, 2010-7-17
  13. ^ Helen Chambers: Humor and irony in nineteenth-century German women's writing: studies in prose fiction, 1840-1900. Camden House 2007, ISBN 9781571133045, pp. 137-154 (online copy, p. 137, at Google Books)
  14. ^ Sara Colvin: Women and German drama: playwrights and their texts, 1860-1945. Camden House 2003, ISBN 1571132740, pp. 91-102 (online copy, p. 91, at Google Books)


{{reflist|refs= <ref name=chambers2007>{{cite book | first=Helen | last=Chambers | year=2007 | title=Humor and irony in nineteenth-century German women's writing: studies in prose fiction, 1840-1900 | series=Studies in German literature, linguistics, and culture | publisher=Camden House | isbn=1571133046 | chapter=Clara Viebig (1860–1952) | pages=137–138 | url=http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=AbcOBKPPaswC&oi=fnd&pg=PA137 | accessdate=2011-04-02 }}</ref> }}