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Charlotte Roche – A Provocative Novelist

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Having National Icons as the topic for the 2nd issue of the WWN made me reflect about which German person I could write about. A long list of different great and influencing names popped up in my head: great figures like  the physician Albert Einstein, the philosopher Immanuel-Kant, Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. Then I realized that they are all men and all historic persons that you all have probably heard about before.

So I decided to present to you a contemporary female public person who was in the center of attention the last few years and who you might not know yet. Opinions about her are very opposing. While some regard her as a representation of a new generation of feminists others, like the German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki see her works as pornography.

But you should create your own (mental) picture of her: Charlotte Roche is a 33-year old British-born German television presenter, actress, singer and author.  In the 1990s she worked for the German music channels Viva and Viva Zwei. She published her first book “Feuchtgebiete“ (“Wetlands“) in 2008 and it was the world’s best-selling novel at Amazon.com in 2008. The book deals with cleanliness, femininity and female sexuality. When the novel was published many people saw it as a big provocation because it deals with topics of sexuality that are not talked about openly in public and it includes some pretty disgusting scenes. But the publication of her novel was a topic in German media and newspapers abroad. It brought up a new discussion about women’s roles and images in the society. In her book Roche speaks out “against the oppression of waxed, shaved, douched and otherwise sanitized women’s worlds.” Roche argues “that in contemporary society a lot of women have a very messed-up attitude to their own bodies.“ She states “we’re obsessed with cleanliness (…).”

This August Roche published her second book “Schoßgebete“ and the discussion about the women’s role is going into the second round.

Here are some articles published by main newspapers so you can find out what this is all about:

English resources:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/world/europe/06taboo.html?pagewanted=all http://www.granta.com/Online-Only/Interview-Charlotte-Roche

German resources: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,537317-2,00.html

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