Commodities of Desire: The Prostitute in Modern German Literature

Commodities of Desire: The Prostitute in Modern German Literature


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Unlike her counterpart in French literature, and despite her importance in drama, poetry, and prose, the figure of the prostitute in modern German literature has been a largely neglected phenomenon. Commodities of Desire addresses this omission: it is the first collection of essays to exclusively investigate this colorful and multi-faceted figure in its many forms and mutations. The book pursues this goal by analyzing a number of key texts — from the Wilhelmine Empire to the Weimar Republic — and by providing the social, legal, and cultural contexts necessary for their interpretation. While the 'sex-worker' has been a presence in literature for centuries, the prostitute was never more popular in German literature than between the late 1880s and the early 1930s. It was then — during a time when prostitution had become one of the most pressing social problems of urban Germany — that the streetwalker became a symbol of the destructive and fertile forces of the metropolis, an allegorization of the political and social crisis, and a vehicle for biting social criticism. This book focuses on prostitutes as literary figures and prostitution as a topic in works by well-known and lesser-known writers. It thus clarifies the iconography of the prostitute and aids the reader in understanding her significance in the development of modern German literature. Christiane Schönfeld teaches German at the University of Galway, Ireland.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571131980
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 02/01/2001
Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture Series
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction - Christiane Schoenfeld Prostitution, Free Love, and Marriage in German Drama in the 1890s - Karl Leydecker Frank Wedekind's Prostitute: A Liberating Re-Creation or Male Recreation? - Stephanie Libbon The "süßes Mädel" in Fin-de-Siècle and Modern Vienna - Brenda Keiser The Representation of Prostitutes in Literature and Film: Margarete Böhme and G. W. Pabst - Margaret Mc Carthy Sense and Sentimentality? Margarete Böhme's Tagebuch einer Verlorenen in Context - Anna Richards Streetwalking the Metropolis: Prostitutes in Expressionism - Christiane Schoenfeld Blonde Satan: Weimar Constructions of the Criminal Femme Fatale - Women of the Street: Prostitution in Bertolt Brecht's Works - Paula Hanssen The Genesis of "Jenny": Prostitute Songs, the Mythology of Pimps, and the Threepenny Opera - Alan Lareau At a Moral Crossroads: Vom Leben getötet and the Regulation of Sexuality in the Weimar Republic - Ingrid E. Sharp

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