Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall was originally published in German in 1963. Our protagonist and narrator is a woman in her 40s. While visiting friends at a hunting lodge in rural Austria, she finds herself divorced from all human contact when an invisible wall descends, cutting her small region off from the rest of the world. She is quickly forced into a struggle to survive, and must learn to become self-sufficient. Willingly or not, she must become the ruler of her own destiny. Often interpreted as an allegory of female emancipation, this Robinsonade places questions of identity and society at its core by describing a world in which their very existence becomes questionable.
Over the course of the programme, we discuss the rich interpretive possibilities the book offers, delve into its treatment of nature, and ponder the recurrent reading of the novel as a feminist text.
The readings in this episode were performed by Ola Wittchen
Wahrscheinlich bin ich verrückt: Marlen Haushofer - Die Biographie by Daniela Strigl (List, 2007)
Robinson Crusoe (1719) by Daniel Defoe
‘Marlen Haushofer–eine Feministin aus Österreich’ by Dagmar C. G. Lorenz in Modern Austrian Literature, Vol. 12, No. 3/4, Special Issue on Austrian Women Writers (1979), pp. 171-191
‘Behind the Transparent Wall Marlen Haushofer's Novel "Die Wand"‘ by Hugo Caviola in Modern Austrian Literature, Vol. 24, No. 1 (1991), pp. 100-112