Viewing Feminist Autobiography through a Spatial Lens: A Comparative Approach to Seyran Ates’s Große Reise ins Feuer

Johanna Schuster-Craig, Michigan State University
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring 2016), 201-227

This paper compares Gloria Anzaldúa’s seminal autobiographical work Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987) with Seyran Ateş’s autobiography Große Reise ins Feuer: Die Geschichte einer deutschen Türkin (2003; Long journey into fire: The story of a German Turk) as a way of illuminating both the national differences in minority feminist autobiography as well as the similarities found in the content and form of both texts. Experiences of physical and psychic pain, trauma, and exclusion spur both authors to seek freedom; both do so by laying claim to spaces of representation, albeit from divergent political positions. Written fifteen years apart, the similarities in the techniques that give each narrative shape (such as an interest in pain and space) and the differences in national political application show feminist autobiography to be an extremely plastic genre with strategic use in performative identity-based struggles.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]