Making 'Hope and History Rhyme'

Gender and History in Josephine Herbst's Trexler Trilogy

in Critical Survey

In representing the past, Herbst continues the realist tradition, utilising the form of the classical historical novel, which, as Georg Lukács describes it, represents the historical past as the ‘concrete prehistory of the present’.2 In ‘reconstruct[ing]’ herself, however, Herbst also deploys avant-garde formal techniques that interrupt the linear narrative chronology with what she called ‘interpretive inserts’.3 Thus, the form of Herbst’s trilogy reveals relationships between history and subjectivity, and the public and the private, that challenge the typical modernist repudiation of the significance of history and the privileging of the private over the public.

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