Christine Lavant - Memoirs from a Madhouse
Christine Lavant (1915-1973), one of Austria's most famous yet obscure 20th-century poets, grew up in a small village, in a provincial Catholic milieu, in southern Austria as the ninth child of a very poor family. She suffered from eye and ear problems, was pathologically introverted, and supported herself with knitting. Her poetry is unconventional, filled with neologisms, mysterious and magical. We hear echoes of Rilke, whom she admired. Thomas Bernhard referred to her work as testimony to a "zerstörte Welt / destroyed world." She was honored with numerous literary awards, among them the Austrian State Prize for Literature in 1970, three years before her death.
This narration, in which the narrator checks herself into an asylum for six weeks, was not published until after her death, because she considered it too personal. We find autobiographical elements in it which describes her exhaustion, her sleeplessness, her failed suicide attempt, and her daily struggles to survive by writing. She observes her colleague-inmates who dance the dance of madness as "hunchback queen" and are forced to wear straitjackets, or the narrator sees a place where angels just may be possible.
- Author: Christine Lavant
- Title: Memoirs from a Madhouse
- Binding: Hardcover
- Translation by: Renate Latimer
- Introduction by: Annette Steinsiek and Ursula Schneider
- Afterword by: Annette Steinsiek and Ursula Schneider
- Publishing House: Ariadne Press
- Pages: 106
- Date Published: 2004
- ISBN: 1572411228