March 15, 2011


Christa Wolf, Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays translated from the German by Jan van Heurck (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1984) ("You can tell when a war starts, but when does the prewar start? If there are rules about that, we should pass them on. Hand the down inscribed in clay, in stone. What would they say? Among other things they would say: Do not let your own people deceive you." Id. at 66. Examples: "Remember the Maine!" "War to end war." "The Domino Effect." Iraq's "Weapons of Mass Destruction." "Exporting Democracy." From the backcover: "In the tradition of such masterpieces of historical fiction as Mary Renault's The King Must Die, East German writer Christa Wolf movingly retells the story of the fall of Troy--but from the point of view of the woman whose visionary powers earned her contempt and scorn. Written as a result of the author's Greek travels and studies, Cassandra speak to us is a pressing monologue whose inner focal points are patriarchy and war. In the four accompanying pieces, which take the form of travel reports, journal entries, and a letter, Wolf describes the novel's genesis. Incisive and intelligent, the entire volume represents an urgent call to examine the past in order to insure a future.").