Keun’s Berlin novel is one of the best for exploring gender, sexuality and social change in Berlin of the 1920s and early 1930s. Her protagonist’s first-person narration draws on modernism and the inner monologue and investigates her unsettled relationship to herself and to the promise of the city. The novel explores the precarity of many in the growing metropolis, and especially the need for women to negotiate stereotypes and expectations for their own behaviour.
One thought on “Keun, Irmgard. Das kunstseidene Mädchen (1932; repr. Munich: DTV, 1995)”
I’ve used this book in English translation for a seminar called “Love Stinks!” It can fuel valuable discussions about consumerism, mass media, and cliches about romance.