Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Das kunstseidene Mädchen” as Want to Read:
Das kunstseidene Mädchen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Das kunstseidene Mädchen

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  699 ratings  ·  85 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Das kunstseidene Mädchen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Das kunstseidene Mädchen

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,336)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

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
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
Monica Carter
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
das muss man einfach gelesen haben! eine bessere beschreibung des lebensgefühls der 20er jahre gibt es nicht!!!!
Friederike Knabe
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
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
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
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.
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
Wendy Kobylarz-Chouvarda
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.
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
Nicki Markus
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
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
Sergiu Pobereznic
I feel as though I have been in the driving seat of a woman's mind during the early 1930s of pre-Nazi Germany. Not just any kind of woman, though. The protagonist, Doris, with a lack of education, is a material girl who hopes to achieve a higher status in society by garnering the attentions of successful men and sleeping her way to the top. Three of them in fact, with varying degrees of success and conclusions. It is both funny and sad.
Because it is a social critique, this novel's publication wa
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
i feel like people don't like this book, but i really did? it's like right up my alley of 1900s gossip girl; if you liked house of mirth you'll like this. actually this was easier and less dense than house of mirth, but still. i think it's easy to hate or dislike doris for being shallow and materialistic but it's important to remember that she is a young girl trying to make it in berlin, she's places a lot of importance on having material goods because of her experiences - like, she's learned th ...more
Who knew that social climbing in Weimar Germany could be so funny. Doris is a flighty, determined and wry narrator who is trying (and failing) to sleep her way to the top.

She has many hilarious descriptions as she shares her view of everyday people in Berlin just as the Nazis are gaining prominence. Just so that you get an idea of the tone of the book ,it is important to note that one of the main characters in this novel is Doris's fur coat, with whom she has a loving relationship.

It is imperat
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.
The year is 1931, and Berlin is full of balding veterans eager to buy a pretty girl wine and emu-leather shoes, at least while their wives are out of town. Enter Doris. An 18-year old from the Rhineland valley, and in her own mind, the world's next Marlene Dietrich. Doris never falls in love, and is certain she understands the game of sex. But after she steals a fur coat in order to look fabulous for a meeting with her ex-lover, she winds up hiding from the authorities in the big city, with no m ...more
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
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
wie ein weiblicher chatcher in the rye...
"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
It's been a while since I loved a book so much. Doris was a cross between Holly Golightly and Sally Bowles, with some extra destitution thrown in. She was such a misanthrope, but she was still so desperate for love, in any form. She was so materialistic and nasty at times to other women (and sometimes men) but she remained so likeable. You just rooted for her in her search for a--for lack of a better word--sugar daddy and/or fame and fortune on the stage. It's funny, the present day iteration of ...more
I bought this book in the hopes of using it for a research project on narratives of female Jewish authors in Europe, but realized very quickly that it wasn't appropriate (in retrospect, I can't find any mention of Keun being Jewish online, so I'm not sure how I ended up choosing this at all). Nonetheless, it was an incredibly interesting read, written in a lighthearted style that deceptively serves to strengthen its underlying political messages about female sexual morality in the Weimar era. I ...more
“Me—and my fur coat who is with me—my skin gets all tense with the desire that someone finds me attractive in my fur, and I find him attractive as well. I’m sitting in a cafe—violins are playing, sending a waft of weepy clouds into my head—something’s crying in me—I want to bury my face in my hands to make it less sad. It has to work so hard, because I’m trying to be a star. And there are women all over the place whose faces are also trying hard.”

doris is a girl trying to make sense of the world
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
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 44 45 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933
  • The Oppermanns
  • Little Man, What Now?
  • The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber: Weimar Berlin's Priestess of Decadence
  • Sommerhaus, später
  • Fabian. Die Geschichte eines Moralisten
  • Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider
  • Kalt ist der Abendhauch
  • Tristan und Isolde
  • Grand Hotel
  • The Hothouse
  • The Wall Jumper: A Berlin Story
  • Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman
  • In Times of Fading Light
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • Das siebte Kreuz
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)
More about Irmgard Keun...
After Midnight Gilgi, eine von uns Child of All Nations Das Mädchen, mit dem die Kinder nicht verkehren durften D-Zug dritter Klasse

Share This Book

“Vater unser, mach mir noch mit einem Wunder eine feine Bildung
- das Übrige kann ich ja selbst machen mit Schminke.”
“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.” 2 likes
More quotes…