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Access Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Embargo Period


Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis is a translation of and critical introduction to a seventeen-month excerpt of the World War I diaries of German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. These diaries present a unique insight into Kollwitz’s life during the war and the process behind her art. The source text for this translation are entries from August 1, 1916, to December 31, 1917, as printed in the 2012 edition of the diaries prepared by the artist’s granddaughter, Jutta Bohnke-Kollwitz, and first published in full in 1989. The thesis also translates Bohnke-Kollwitz’s introduction to the published volume and her footnotes on the selected entries. The critical introduction to the translation discusses this excerpt in the historical context of World War I, addressing the relationship between the patriotic “spirit of 1914” and the cultural constraints on grieving mothers to largely mourn in silence, as Kollwitz did for her own fallen son Peter. This situates Kollwitz among intellectuals and intellectual women in Germany at the time, and follows Kollwitz’s transition from an initial pro-war stance to eventual anti-war activism as documented in the diaries. The introduction then discusses my translation strategy, which draws on functionalist theories of translation to develop an approach that foregrounds Kollwitz’s own voice as a writer and the nature of the text as a private document. This approach aligns with the intended function of this translation, which particularly values the diaries for their intimacy and for the insight they can give us onto Kollwitz’s inner experience during a tumultuous historical time.


First Advisor

Corine Tachtiris

Second Advisor

Robert Sullivan

Third Advisor

Jim Hicks

Available for download on Thursday, February 03, 2028