Marlen Haushofer’s Poetics of Moving Stillness

Mag. Nicola Kopf

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. i. R. Dr. Annegret Pelz


This dissertation deals with the representation of im/mobility in the work of Austrian author Marlen Haushofer (1920-1970) and looks at the entanglements of movement and stillness in her writings. Not only in her canonical novel The Wall (1963), but also in her entire oeuvre she depicts seemingly static worlds in which mobility is both constricted and set in motion, made visible, or preserved. While the first wave of reception of Haushofer's literature focused primarily on gender relations, this project raises questions on the ecocritical content of the texts and connects them to contemporary discourses on space and mobility. Especially in the accelerated present of the Anthropocene, forms of pausing and deceleration reveal a utopian potential and represent aesthetic moments of Haushofer’s poetics – in this dissertation captured by the notion of moving stillness.