Ingeborg Bachmann: Malina

(1135 words)

Ingeborg Bachmann’s novel Malina, published in 1971, belongs to the most significant –if also the most cryptic – works of Austrian literature in the twentieth century. Prefaced by a list and short description of five characters, as well as the time designation of “today” and the place designation of “Vienna”, the text starts out more reminiscent of a play than a novel. By presenting her figures as a cast of characters, Bachmann hints at the “acting” that is often required in order to conform to socially determined, gender-specific roles. This implicit critique is reinforced by the namelessness of the female narrator, who is only designated as “Ich” (“I”) in the list of characters,…

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Marston William, Jennifer. "Malina". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 December 2006
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]