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Das kunstseidene Mädchen

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  903 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Doris ist Sekretärin bei einem zudringlichen Rechtsanwalt. Sie will nicht mehr tagaus, tagein Briefe tippen, sondern ein Star werden. Sie will in die große Welt, ins Berlin der Roaring Twenties.
Taschenbuch, 219 pages
Published January 28th 2001 by List Tb. (first published 1932)
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Jun 12, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by: Evan
Shelves: fiction
I am sure that I will read this book again. In fact, I will probably buy a copy...hopefully some entity like Folio Society will publish this gem!

Written in the 1930s, this book could only have been published in Europe, North American social mores and sexual repression being what they were. Some of the thoughts expressed herein concern frank and open (but not specific) sexuality, particularly from the female viewpoint. Female desire and sexual fulfillment...who knew such things existed! So the b
Jul 04, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

I first encountered Irmgard Keun when I read After Midnight, her critique of Nazi Germany expressed in the first person narrative of Sanna, a young German woman who doesn't overtly criticise the Nazis at all. In this, Keun's first novel, the protagonist is Doris, another naïve young German woman. First published in 1931, Keun wrote the novel with the idea that it would be a German version of the hugely successful Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The novel is mostly set in Berlin in the late 1920s, whe
"Tilli says, 'Men are nothing but sensual and they only want one thing.' And I say: 'Tilli, sometimes women too are sensual and want only that one thing.'"

A soufflé with a dash of hard liquor at its center, The Artificial Silk Girl is a sly, charming surprise; an undeservedly obscure, lesser-carat literary gem that is nonetheless priceless as a vivid peek into the lives of bohemian poverty and amoral decadence in Germany on the cusp of Hitler's dark age.

The protagonist of this odyssey is an arr
Monica Carter
Jun 07, 2011 Monica Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june-2011
Tilli says: "Men are nothing but sensual and they only want one thing." But I say: "Tilli, sometimes women too are sensual and want only one thing." And there's no difference. Because sometimes I only want to wake up with someone in the morning, all messed up from kissing and half dead and without any energy to think, but wonderfully tires and rested at the same time. But you don't have to give a hoot otherwise. And there's nothing wrong with it, because both have the same feeling and want the
Leah Mayes
Why is this hailed as a window to pre-Nazi Berlin when the narrator's observations are not especially insightful, about her environs or about the times in general? Why is this hailed as feminist literature when Doris defines herself in terms of how desirable she is to men and chooses to remain blithely ignorant of the world around her unless it involves increasing her desirability and odds of finding a man to take care of her? There is validity in the comparisons to "Sex and the City" and "Bridg ...more
Mar 14, 2010 Viktoria rated it it was amazing
das muss man einfach gelesen haben! eine bessere beschreibung des lebensgefühls der 20er jahre gibt es nicht!!!!
Friederike Knabe
Oct 13, 2011 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
There is nothing fake or artificial about the heroine of this surprising work of fiction. First published in 1932 in Germany, it was followed very quickly by its English translation in 1933. It was an immediate hit for a young author's second novel; praised for its pointed sense of humour as well as the underlying critique of society. The story, written in the form of the central character's musings and diary, blends a young woman's daily struggles to make ends meet with an at times sarcastic ye ...more
Aug 31, 2011 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Das Kunstseidene Mädchen (The Artificial Silk Girl) is a book by Irmgard Keun, written in the time of the Weimarer Republik (pre-Nazi Germany). The book is a diary of sorts, without the "Dear diary" sentences. This is just Doris writing what she wants whenever she wants.

Doris is an interesting character. She's living in a middle-large city and bored to death by her job. She describes herself as not that pretty, but she must have been interesting enough, because many men seem to want her, her bos
Jul 27, 2011 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a classic of feminist lit, from 1931 Germany!! About a strong -- if young party-hard, bad decision making -- woman who's just trying to get over (thanks every day Curtis Mayfield), and does, for the most part. Sure she has to lie some, fake organisms, cadge drinks, lift the occasional haute couture (sp?) item, work at crummy jobs for low pay, freeze her ass off in shitty apartments, have pretty bad hangovers, dance till her feet ache, hide from nazis, etc etc. all in the day of a young woman any ...more
Jul 19, 2015 Julia rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, 00-standalone
Inhalt: Doris ist Sekretärin bei einem zudringlichen Rechtsanwalt. Sie will nicht mehr tagaus, tagein lange Briefe tippen, sondern ein Star werden. Sie will in die große Welt, ins Berlin der Roaring Twenties…
Irmgard Keun hat Doris‘ kunstseidene Abenteuer „naiv und brillant, witzig und verzweifelt, volkstümlich und feurig“ beschrieben (Hermann Kesten). Bunte Unterhaltung in Verbindung mit satirischer Zeitkritik – eine seltene Einheit. (Quelle: Buch)

Vor der Rezension: In Klassik Edition stelle ich
Aug 08, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a quick read, a faux memoir, very direct voice, a good window into 30s germany thru a working-class girl's eyes, lots of universal themes. i really enjoyed it.
Jul 17, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1932, taking place in Berlin, this is the story of an uneducated girl
trying to “make it” in any kind of profession: her one goal is to be rich and not have to worry, no matter how she does it. I found the descriptors of the book to be misleading “Damned by the Nazis, hailed by the feminists…”). Looking at content, this one is difficult for me. As always, I’m happy to find out bits of historical information that I didn’t know I didn’t know (for example, in order for our heroin
Isa K.
Sep 04, 2011 Isa K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galleys
Full disclosure: I may have accidentally stolen this book from BEA ^_^;;;;; You know in the exhibit hall publisher booths are piled high and deep with galleys for people to take for free, but as I was cracking the spine on this one I realized that I hadn't picked it up from a pile of identical copies. Oh it was a galley all right, but it was one of only a handful of copies and sometimes pubs bring these along as 'display only' samples.

So Other Press, if this gem wasn't meant to walk away from th
Feb 13, 2015 Pascale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wise, moving, funny: this book has EVERYTHING. I love the voice of Doris, a waif with a big heart who has a hard time surviving on the streets of 1932 Berlin. After a couple of nasty experiences with lecherous bosses, Doris decides she'd rather do just about anything else than work for a living. Like many pretty girls, she has vague dreams of making it as an actress, but she is too shrewd to believe in her own fantasies of instant stardom. She is painfully aware of her lack of education, and of ...more
Nicki Markus
Jul 27, 2011 Nicki Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first few pages of this book, I really struggled, trying to follow as Doris shifted from one thought to another, segueing from topic to topic with no real pause. That is why I have always had a general dislike for stream of consciousness novels.

Anyhow, I persevered and gradually found myself getting into the flow of the prose.

The story is simple enough, following Doris as she moves through a string of men and troubles in Berlin in the early 1930's. You get a great sense of time and place fr
Mar 21, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irmgard Keun's beautiful novel of working class women in the 1930s is a comic and realistic account. A young girl goes to Berlin to make her way and finds life difficult. The story's realism makes the protagonist more sympathetic in her struggles with life. While a distant relative of Dreiser's Carrie this story reminded me more of the Berlin of Alfred Doblin in the sense that we see people whose lives are on the edge during a time of dramatic change. In many ways this is a miniature version of ...more
Nov 20, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really pleasant surprise. I seemed to be tempted to underline every fourth paragraph, as Doris spews out mostly unfiltered truths with a down-to-earth voice, cloaked in just enough naivety to produce a comic effect but not mocking enough to discount her very real observations. For a book written in the 1930s, it seems like the kind of writing you'd find on a tumblr - and I think that is awesome.
Kimmo Sinivuori
If the book was burned by the Nazis it can't be bad. This is a nice snapshot of Berlin during the last days of the Weimar Republic. I find it quite amazing that this could have been written by a young lady in the early 1930's. Well worth a read.
Dec 27, 2011 Oriana marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-soon
compared to Isherwood's Berlin Stories, suppressed / destroyed by the Nazis, and recently republished in a new translation by Other Press? YESSSSSS
Hanne Rømsing
Sex and the City (hvis det hadde kommet ut i 1933). Gøy!
May 22, 2011 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
wie ein weiblicher chatcher in the rye...
The Literary Chick
A German Holly Golightly/Sally Bowles
Lolita Church
Jan 06, 2017 Lolita Church rated it it was amazing
Weimarer Republik: Die junge Schreibkraft Doris träumt von einem glamourösen Leben als Filmstar in der Großstadt. Doch wie kommt ein ungebildetes Unterschichtenmädchen aus der Provinz dort hin? Ein Talent hat Doris: Sie ist die Frau der tausend Masken, die Männern immer das vorspielen kann, wonach sie sich am meisten sehnen. Im Gegenzug regnet es Geschenke aus jener Luxuswelt, deren Teil Doris werden möchte. Dass sie sich dabei bald nicht mehr nur in der Nähe der Prostitution bewegen wird, wird ...more
Dec 22, 2016 Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
A mesmerizing book, with a beautiful story, a fun and interesting main character and important lessons to learn. It's almost like a coming-of-age story, as the main character is about 17-18, but her life is far more interesting adult-like than expected from such a young person. It is such a shame that the book isn't as popular as it used to be before the WW2. I really recommend it!
Dec 30, 2016 Serdar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started off like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and ended like Good Morning, Midnight.
"Bubikopf, schlanke Taille, sportlicher Körper. Das Frauenbild der 20er Jahre."

Doris will nicht mehr arbeiten. Sie will ein Glanz werden und sich absondern von der Normalität. Ihr Schicksal führt sie nach Berlin, wo sie ein Leben zwischen besitzen und besitzlos führt. Dennoch gibt sie ihre Ziele nicht auf, hört auf zu arbeiten und umgarnt ältere Männer um gut bis luxuriös leben zu können. Doch selbst dieser Lebensstil vergeht irgendwann …

„Das kunstseidene Mädchen“ ist der zweite R
I really enjoyed this novel, a quick read, that tells the story of Doris, a young woman from a small German town who moves to Berlin following her dream of becoming a shining star of cinema. An ambition we know only too well is almost certainly hopeless.

Doris can be somewhat shallow and judgmental, she is not averse to thievery (for e.g. a beautiful fur coat becomes a second skin, a bit of glamour that also serves the practical purpose of keeping her warm), she sponges off friends and a series
Had to read this for school, worst book ever
Keun je nemecka autorka zijici v Koline, zidovka. pritelkyne kische, zweiga , thomasse manna. ziskala popularitu ve 30. letech, pak byly jeji knihy nacisty zakazany, skryvala se za valky v nemecku. po valce problemy s alkoholem, rozbity dum, zivorila, do leceben, jiz nikdy neziskala vetsi slavu. zemrela 1982. cely zivot byla velmi sarmantni, temperamentni, idol muzu.
autobiograficke prvky v romanu kunstseidenes maedchen. hlavni hrdninkou je doris, to co cteme je jeji dennik psany v ich forme. psa
Aug 20, 2013 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another great book by Irmgard Keun. This is the third one I've read of hers (will definitely be hunting down any others that have been translated into English) and she has yet to disappoint me.
The writing felt fresh and vibrant and besides the references to newfangled items like records, it felt like it could've been written yesterday.

Take this small bit: "An industrialist had invited me along. He had come to the theater to pick up free tickets for tomorrow night, because if you have money
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Irmgard Keun (February 6, 1905 – May 5, 1982) was a German author noteworthy both for her portrayals of life in the Weimar Republic as well as the early years of the Nazi Germany era.

(from Wikipedia)
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“They have courses teaching you foreign languages and ballroom dancing and etiquette and cooking. But there are no classes to learn how to be by yourself in a furnished room with chipped dishes, or how to be alone in general without any words of concern or familiar sounds.” 5 likes
“Vater unser, mach mir noch mit einem Wunder eine feine Bildung
- das Übrige kann ich ja selbst machen mit Schminke.”
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