born 20/09/1947 in Düsseldorf
literary scholar, author, lecturer, youtuber
after four years of elementary school
on to a grammar school for girls with
the focus on “ women's subjects
“ as supposedly most useful preparation
for a woman's life.
16 -- school leaving in the conviction
that I would marry at 20, have half a
dozen children and further education would
One year in London and one in Paris to
learn the languages.
as a fashion designer because my family
owned a textile factory and believed it
to be a lovely occupation for a girl.
I didn't care since I was going to marry
soon anyway. Five years of work as a fashion
26 -- I resigned from the family's business
because I couldn't go on feeling insufficiently
challenged. Preparation for an exam to
be admitted to a German university without
the necessary high school graduation exam.
Earned my livelihood as a lecturer for
English at an adult education centre but
was also financially supported by my future
28 -- studies in English and French at
the University of Dusseldorf to become
a teacher -- although I really wanted
to study law -- because a teaching job
would be nicely compatible with the duties
of a housewife and mother. After a year,
was offered a job as undergraduate assistant
in the apartment for Romance studies.
33 -- First State Examination and marriage.
Another year as a research assistant.
The offer to do my doctorate I rejected
not only because I hadn't warmed up to
French lexicology but also still because
of potential children.
34 -- student teacher; one of three “
chairpersons by seniority ” and
one of the very few of 200 that enjoyed
this time from the first to the last day.
36 -- Second State Examination; that was
in 1984 and there were no jobs for teachers
to be had; 18 months in all kinds of temporary
jobs hoping in vain for a position as
38 -- head of the Educational Training
Centre in Dusseldorf and later of the
International Library as well.
43 -- turned my private life upside down:
divorce, and for the first time in my
life strongly influenced by feminist convictions.
44 -- turned my professional life upside
down as well: resigning the full-time
job for the purpose of taking a Ph.D.,
starting a part-time job in the secretariat
and bookkeeping department of a retail
business instead. At long last I was able
to free myself from the acquired notions
of a ‘proper’ woman's life
and to give way to my longing to test
the limits of my mental faculties; I had
also finally found a topic I could engage
46 -- looking for feminist activity, I
ended up being one of 22 women who founded
a women's party (left the undertaking
10 years later).
48 -- Ph.D. (thesis written in English:
A Life of Her Own: Feminism in Vera
Brittain's Theory Fiction and Biography);
lecturer for English literature at Dusseldorf
University; immediate work on a 'Habilitation'
at Bonn University (highest academic qualification
in Germany necessary for full professorship;
dissertation (written in English): 'Our
Daughters Must Be Wives': Marriageable
Young Women in the Novels of Dickens,
Eliot, and Hardy; premature ending
of the procedure by my withdrawal because
of insurmountable differences re feminist
56 -- fulfilled my life's dream and took
58 -- my first non-scientific book published:
50 plus und endlich allein (50 Plus
and Alone at Last); extensive reading
and lecturing tours.
59 -- a cabaret performance of Portrait
of the Artist Kurt Weill. Much More than
"The Threepenny Opera"
because I am unable not to transport new
knowledge into a text and share it.
60 -- publication of my second non-scientific
book: Wenn Eltern auseinandergehen
(When Parents Separate); several
theatre and radio plays written unsuccessfully.
64 -- twice in TV talk shows: on 3/2/12
on “Partnerless happy?” (http://swrmediathek.de/player.htm?show=baa86950-4f51-11e1-bc9d-0026b975f2e6);
on 24/6/12 " Alone or Together?"
65 -- yet another popular non-fictional
book: Bedingungslos menschlich (Unconditionally
Humane), 17 different people giving
or receiving voluntary help share interesting
insights from both sides -- having done
voluntary work in a women's shelter.
At 69 -- finished! Evening of my life:
keeping my old foreign languages alive
with tandem partners (wonderful invention!)
and beginning a new one: Turkish -- the
one challenge of my old age; and leaving
the women's shelter for men's prisons.
70 -- I was wrong: the evening of my life
is so interesting and so many people lament
it that I have to put my thoughts onto
paper once again: Alter/n ist großartig.
Man muss nur wissen wie (Age and Ageing
are Fantastic: You Only Have to Know How
73 -- started a video blog because I simply
can't keep my mouth shut.