“She couldn’t simply write a letter.” Scenes of Reading in Ingeborg Bachmann’s The Book of Franza


  • Sonja Boos University of Oregon




This article contends that Ingeborg Bachmann’s The Book of Franza anticipates and significantly advances feminist critiques of writing and authorship by exposing and effectively deconstructing scenes of reading as the site where discursive power is exercised and significations are enforced by using “her” as a universal signifier. But it also performs a refusal to impart to the reader a subject that could be pinned down, identified, and hence objectified. Eluding containment by the patriarchal law, the subject has the chance to come into a law of its own as it vanishes and subsequently returns as a reader with a new type of leverage.

Author Biography

Sonja Boos, University of Oregon

Sonja Boos is Associate Professor of German at the University of Oregon. Her publications include Speaking the Unspeakable in Postwar Germany: Toward a Public Discourse on the Holocaust(Cornell University Press, 2015), and articles on Hannah Arendt, Peter Szondi, Goethe, Gottfried Keller, and Anna Freud. She is currently completing a second book manuscript, Poetics of the Brain: The Emergence of Neuroscience and the German Novel. Another monograph-in-progress, tentatively titled Auteur Amateurs: The Feminist Politics of Home Movies and Experimental Film, discusses the feminist implications of home movies at the intersection of experimental video art, cinematic materialism, and domestic memory practices.




How to Cite

Boos, S. (2019). “She couldn’t simply write a letter.” Scenes of Reading in Ingeborg Bachmann’s The Book of Franza. Konturen, 10(1), 54–80. https://doi.org/10.5399/uo/konturen.10.0.4510