The archive and the closet: same-sex desire and GDR military service in Stefan Wolter's autobiographical writing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article analyses Stefan Wolter's memoir of his service as a Bausoldat in the Nationale Volksarmee: Hinterm Horizont allein — Der ‘Prinz’ von Prora (2005). I suggest the term ‘archival narrative’ to describe its narrative made up of juxtapositions of different sources and to draw attention to archival forces of selection, preservation and omission which the text displays. Wolter scrutinizes his documents of military service and highlights their inadequacy as evidence of his same-sex relationship, drawing attention to traces of his anxieties about revealing once closeted desires. The text therefore invites a reading through the archive theories of Jacques Derrida and José Esteban Muñoz, as well as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's concept of the closet. Wolter offers a uniquely candid account of same-sex desire in the East German military. He shows the effects of a closet defined by concealment, tacit knowledge and the threat of exposure on the documentation and archivization of queer experiences. Above all, he suggests ways of preserving evidence of same-sex desire without neglecting experiences of closeting and suppression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-211
Number of pages14
JournalOxford German Studies
Volume45
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Archive
  • Closet
  • Queer
  • Homosexuality
  • Military
  • GDR
  • East Germany
  • Autobiography
  • Literature
  • Memoir
  • German Literature
  • Wolter
  • Sedgwick
  • Derrida
  • Muñoz

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The archive and the closet: same-sex desire and GDR military service in Stefan Wolter's autobiographical writing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this