The archive and the closet : same-sex desire and military service in Stefan Wolter’s autobiographical writing
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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.
Smith , T 2016 , ' The archive and the closet : same-sex desire and military service in Stefan Wolter’s autobiographical writing ' Oxford German Studies , vol. 45 , no. 2 , pp. 198-211 . DOI: 10.1080/00787191.2016.1156855
Oxford German Studies
© Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group 2016. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00787191.2016.1156855
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