Wolf was born in Landsberg an der Warthe in the Province of Brandenburg. As a result of World War II, Wolf and her family were expelled from their home across the new Oder-Neisse border in 1945 and they settled in Mecklenburg, in what would become the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. She studied literature at Jena and Leipzig. After her graduation she worked for the German Writers' Union and became an editor for a publishing company. She joined the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in 1949 and left it in 1989-90. Stasi records found in 1993 show that she worked as an informant (Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter) during the years 1959–61. The Stasi officers did, however, criticize her "reticence", and lost interest in her cooperation. She was herself then closely surveiled for the next 30 years. During the cold war, Wolf was openly critical of the leadership of the communist state, yet she maintained a loyalty to the values of Karl Marx and opposed German reunification.
Wolf's breakthrough as a writer came in 1963 with the publishing of Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven). Other subsequent works include Nachdenken über Christa T. (The Quest for Christa T.) (1968), Kindheitsmuster (Patterns of Childhood) (1976), Kein Ort. Nirgends (1979), Kassandra (Cassandra) (1983), Medea (1996), and On the Way to Taboo (1994). Christa T. was a work that --while briefly touching on a disconnection from one's family's ancestral home-- was concerned with a woman's experiencing overwhelming societal pressure to conform.
Cassandra is perhaps Wolf's most important book, re-interpreting the battle of Troy as a war for economic power and a shift from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. Was bleibt (What Remains), describing her life under Stasi surveillance, was written in 1979, but not published until 1990. Auf dem Weg nach Tabou (1995; translated as Parting from Phantoms) gathers essays, speeches, and letters written during the four years following the reunification of Germany. Her latest work, Leibhaftig (2002) describes a woman struggling with life and death in an 80s East-German hospital waiting for medicine from the West. Central themes in her work are German fascism, humanity, feminism, and self-discovery.
Wolf received the Heinrich Mann Prize in 1963, the Georg Büchner Prize in 1980, and the Schiller Memorial Prize in 1983, the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis in 1987, as well as other national and international awards.
Searching for missing pieces around us: Christa Wolf's the quest for Christa T. and Ingeborg Drewitz's who will defend Katrin Lambert?
Jan 01, 2003; How do Christa Wolf's The Quest for Christa T. and Ingeborg Drewitz's Who will Defend Katrin Lambert? construct female characters...