Marlene Streeruwitz juxtaposes language and torture to reveal feminist truths
In an interview with Sweden's Yvonne Ihmels, founder of the culture magazine Cora at the 2013 Goteborg Book Fair, writer, director, and one of Europe's leading feminist thinkers, Marlene Streeruwitz made her case for the controversial notion of a 'female language' citing the great Austrian-British 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's assertion that 'you cannot say what you cannot think' and pointing to her 2004 stream of consciousness novel Jessica, 30 as examples of the need for an alternative feminist framework. The conversation moved on to Streeruwitz's reflections on her writing career, techniques and feminist themes of 20 novels, novellas, and plays featuring female characters with verisimilitudes of her own name and even her own physical features, ironically designed to distance herself from her heroines, while making her characters seem more real. The Austrian-born author then offered a report on today's Austrian state, detailing the heavy-handed police monitoring of public 'hikes,' and social castes signified by clothes, scarves and hats. Streeruwitz wrapped the interview with a discussion of her recently released novel, Die Schmerzmacherin (FISCHER Taschenbuch; March, 2014), translated as The Hurtress, or The Pain Maker, about a lost child, deserted by her parents, named Amy, who winds up in a security organization where she learns to torture. The audience followed up with several questions, all focused on language and Streeruwitz's quest for a female alternative.
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