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Christine Lavant (1915-1973), one of Austria's most famous yet obscure 20th century poets, wrote these memoirs during a voluntary six-week stay in an asylum. Although written in 1946 the memoirs were not published until 2001 because the poet felt that the work was too personal. She records her failed suicide attempt, her sleeplessness, her exhaustion, her eccentric and mad inmates, her daily struggle to survive by writing. The author spent most of her life in a small southern Austrian village, where she was born as the ninth child in a family of miners. Pathologically introverted, she was plagued by poverty and illness 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 'zerstorte 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.
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Christine Lavant (1915-1973) grew up in a small village, in a provincial Catholic milieu in southern Austria. She suffered from eye and ear problems, was pathologically introverted, and supported herself with knitting. The Introduction and Afterword are by Annette Steinsiek and Ursula Schneider; the translated is by Renate Latimer
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