The Artificial Silk Girl and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$5.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Artificial Silk Girl Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 17, 2002


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 17, 2002
$28.99 $5.99

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details


Special Offers and Product Promotions


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (April 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892746816
  • ASIN: B00AK4B4S8
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,391,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1932, this unusual novel might well have been subtitled "Social Climbing Through Bed-Hopping in the Last Days of the Weimar Republic." Initially a commercial success, it was soon banned by the Nazis for the racy, irreverent musings of its narrator, Doris, an office worker who decides that her best chance of improving her lot is to exercise her considerable libido as she tries to find a rich Mr. Right. Her strategy succeeds for brief periods, but Doris also goes through several down-at-the-heels phases as her various affairs come apart; at a particularly perilous moment, she is almost forced into prostitution. Her most consistent candidate for true love is a man named Hubert, who wanders in and out of her life. When he disappears, Doris takes a stab at life in the theater before a problematic affair ends that venture. Doris's frank, outrageous comments on the foibles of her various suitors keep things entertaining until the one-note romantic plot begins to wear thin. Readers may be disappointed that Keun (1905-1982) has little to offer on the politics of the era, save for her portrayal of a brief date in which Doris gets rejected when she pretends to be Jewish. That lacuna aside, this is an illuminating look at the much-mythologized social and sexual mores of Weimar Germany.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Elle.com - Daily Essentials 2002

The Artificial Silk Girl
Monday, 7/29/2002

A young woman in pre-war Berlin dreams of becoming a star, but after a promising start, slowly slides into destitution. The Artificial Silk Girl follows Doris into the underbelly of a city that had once seemed all glamour and promise. Originally written in 1931 by 22-year-old German writer, Irmgard Keun, The Artificial Silk Girl became an instant best-seller. Just a year later it was banned by the Nazis, and all copies were destroyed. Kathie von Ankum's English translation will bring this masterwork to the foreground once more, giving a new generation the chance to discover Keun for themselves.

The Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Keun (translated by Kathie von Ankum), $22, at booksellers nationwide.

Kirkus 2002

The Artificial Silk Girl
July 1, 2002

A particularly vivid, gritty new English translation of a 1932 novel set in Berlin between the world wars, whose expatriate author (1905-82) enjoyed early critical and popular success, incurred the displeasure of Nazi censors, spent two years as the mistress of the great Austrian writer (also an expatriate) Joseph Roth, and wrote, pseudonymously, in obscurity (having returned to Germany) until her death. Keun's once-famous novel is the defiant (and anything but confessional) "confession" of its narrator Doris, an ambitious would-be actress whose drift into petty theft, poverty, and disillusionment is observed by a sharp unsentimental eye that also provides numerous vignette-like glimpses of the seaminess and heartlessness of a vibrant city stifled by the imperatives of Nazism. As we learn from scholar Maria Tatar's helpful introduction, this was conceived as an "answer" to Anita Loos's popular potboiler "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." It's more than that: a commendably deft work of social criticism and understated character portrayal. A most worthy rediscovery.

Los Angeles Times Book Review 2002

Artificial Silk Girl
By Susan Salter Reynolds
Sunday, June 30, 2002

The Artificial Silk Girl, written in 1932 by Irmgard Keun, then 23, was blacklisted a year later by the Nazis for its anti-German portrayals of businessmen and bureaucrats. In the 1950s, it was resurrected as a feminist manifesto: the diary of a working girl in Depression-era Berlin.

Damned by the Nazis, hailed by the feminists. You'd think there's hardly anything left to say about the poor novel, except that it is a truly charming window into a young woman's life in the early 1930s.

Portland Phoenix 2002

The Artificial Silk Girl

First published in 1932, this unusual novel might well have been subtitled "Social Climbing through Bed-Hopping in the Last Days of the Weimar Republic." Initially a commercial success, it was soon banned by the Nazis for the racy, irreverent musings of its narrator, Doris, an office worker who decides that her best chance of improving her lot is to exercise her considerable libido as she tries to find a rich Mr. Right. Her strategy succeeds for brief periods, but Doris also goes through several down-at-the-heels phases as her various affairs come apart; at a particularly perilous moment, she is almost forced into prostitution. Her most consistent candidate for true love is a man named Hubert, who wanders in and out of her life. When he disappears, Doris takes a stab at life in the theater before a problematic affair ends that venture. Doris's frank, outrageous comments on the foibles of her various suitors keep things entertaining until the one-note romantic plot begins to wear thin. Readers may be disappointed that Keun (1905-1982) has little to offer on the politics of the era, save for her portrayal of a brief date in which Doris gets rejected when she pretends to be Jewish. That lacuna aside, this is an illuminating look at the much-mythologized social and sexual mores of Weimar Germany.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

San Francisco Chronicle 2002

The Artificial Silk Girl
J. Alex Tarquinio Sunday
July 28, 2002

Christopher Isherwood and Bertolt Brecht narrated the chaos of Weimar-era Berlin, and today their "Berlin Stories" and "Three Penny Opera" are hailed as early 20th century classics. But how many people have heard of Irmgard Keun, author of "The Artificial Silk Girl," a popular German novel in 1932 that nearly vanished from literary history after the Nazis banned it a year later?

Other Press has a new English translation, the first since 1933 and an improvement on the original, which was marred by a translator who added political passages to keep pace with German politics. This could only have blemished the subtle political vision of the book's author, who was just 22. Although Keun's anti-Nazi stance is now known (she eventually fled Germany), the Nazis could not have banned her book in 1931 because of any overt political message. Rather, they must have been annoyed by the heroine's blase' attitude about her many random sexual encounters.

The book is the fictional journal of Doris, an 18-year-old runaway who goes to Berlin to seek her fame and fortune. Doris punctuates the passages in which she encounters politics and racial violence with statements of profound indifference. In the only episode in which she shows any interest in politics, she stumbles into a peace rally and is caught up in the emotion of the moment. A man takes her off to a pastry shop, where she hopes he will give her a lesson in German politics. But that is clearly not his intention, so she slips away from him. "And I was sad about not having gotten any political education. But I did have three pieces of hazelnut torte -- which took care of my lunch, which couldn't be said about a lesson in politics."

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
3
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
1
See all 13 customer reviews
She explains that she is writing down her life because she wants to live it large, like a movie.
C. Ebeling
I believe that many young readers, who are dissatisfied with the choices we are given, will feel the same way and will be sympathetic to the protagonist's plight.
John S
I was very impressed with this first English translation's success at capturing the mood of the original German text.
Jeanne Stepanova

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By musikwissenschaft on December 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
WARNING -- this translation has been abridged, without either translator or editor acknowledging it. Chunks of the German original are simply omitted. Why is it legal to do this (it is certainly not ethical)? Someone ought to let the German publisher (DTV) or the estate of Keun know. If you want the entire book, go look for Basil Creighton's older translation. This translation is very readable and lively; pity it isn't complete.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Burce Kaya on December 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This outstanding novel by Irmgard Keun is the portrait of a young German woman in search of a new life. Doris leaves her small town and goes to Berlin with a stolen fur coat on her and the idea if becoming a star in her mind. She is fascinated by the glory of the "big city," as it is shown on television and in films. Is she going to get what she expects from the city? Is she going to end up with the love of her life, who will provide her the happy life she has been waiting for?

The book also presents a lively panorama of Berlin in the last days of Weimar era through the first person-narrative of Doris, who functions like a camera and creates vivid images of the city. The reader wanders in the streets of Berlin with Doris, gets lost in a crowd of beggars, prostitutes and men selling perfumes and naked women posters in every corner of Alexander Platz. In this respect, the book is almost cinematic, and it is a great choice especially for those who are interested in the social, cultural and political conditions of Germany in the early 1930s.

One year after it was first published Keun's book was blacklisted for its "anti-German tendencies" and "obscene" narrative. This book is a critical reflection of its time, and Keun does not give credit to euphemisms in her story. So I can say that The Artificial Silk Girl is a brave narration of the story a brave young woman. Through Doris's psychological insight, Keun reflects a dark and gloomy image of Berlin in an ironic style. I very much enjoyed my adventure with Doris in her search of wealth, love, luxury and glamour in the hidden corners of the city, and to witness her self discovery while she is looking for many other things. Original narrative, great story!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 yet always witty commentary on daily life among the working classes during the dying days of the Weimar Republic. Irmgard Keun cleverly uses her memorable character - Doris - who is as naïve as she is shrewd - to convey her own astute observations and critique of social and economic conditions of the time. While many aspects of the impending political disaster could not be predicted, Keun conveys her presentiments through Doris's experiences. Despite the less than rosy picture it draws for Doris, the story is written in a deceptively light-hearted style, using the regional and working class colloquial language of her character with some Berliner phraseology and idioms thrown in. Keun's vivid imagery and metaphors are unexpected as they are hilarious. Not having read (yet) the new English translation, I cannot comment on the way in which Keun's peculiar language, grammatical mistakes and all, is being conveyed in another language.

Running out of options to subsidize her meagre income as a less than competent typist, Doris dreams of making it big in the movies. "I want to be a shine" (Ich will ein Glanz sein) is her ambition. She has the looks for it and her choice of boyfriends is aimed at having them provide the necessary accessories for her status as a glamour girl.
Read more ›
11 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
... and give me an education -- I can do the rest with make up."

So says Doris - so writes Doris, that is, near the last page of her thick black notebook, in which she started telling her life story after "something wonderful" happened to her in the middle of a night in 1931. "And I think it will be a good thing," she wrote in her first entry, "if I write everything down, because I'm an unusual person. I don't mean a diary -- that's ridiculous for a trendy girl like me. But I want to write like a movie, because my life is like that and it's going to become even more so." There's a huge irony in that declaration, which the reader may only detect in afterthought; the whole point of Doris, as the literary creation of her author Irmgard Keun, is that she's NOT an unusual person. She's one of a horde of 'thoroughly modern Millies' on the loose in modern materialism. If her life is "like a movie", it's because the Director has cast her in one, choosing her specifically because she projects herself in a fantasy made up from movies and advertising. She's "artificial" in the sense of "artifice" -- make up -- instead of genuine stuff. In her worst moments, she admits to herself that she's a cheap imitation of glamour, synthetic rather than real "silk". She strives to be glitzy and contrives to be ditzy, but neither glitz nor ditz gets her what she wants, which is to be both secure and unconstrained. Safety and Freedom are hard to combine for anyone, but Doris isn't really capable of either. Her life is such a mess that one can't help admiring her power of fantasy.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?