The Artificial Silk Girl was written by German author Irmgard Keun. She was inspired by Anita Loo's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, leading her to describe pre-Nazi German life from a woman's perspective as well as through the lens of cinematic charisma saturating that era. The Artificial Silk Girl, published in 1931, turned out to be an acclaimed bestseller that stunned the world of German literature. Its rise to fame was driven by the unadulterated context of her writing, highlighting the dark side of Berlin's "golden twenties."
Not everyone was impressed with her work, including the Nazi censorship board. They banned her book in 1933 and destroyed all existing copies of it. Luckily, Great Britain published the only English translation before the book disappeared in the calamity of the war nearing that time. This book was later translated by Germanist Kathie von Ankum.
Keun was born on February 6, 1905, and died on May 5, 1982. She provided noteworthy portrayals of what life was like in the Weimar Republic. In addition, she thoughtfully expressed the early years of Nazi control executed in Germany.
Keun's writing style was unconventional and her daring approach to the subject matter made her a target of both Nazi and post-war censorship. Despite this, she was able to secure her place in the literary world and her works are still widely read today. Her writing was filled with wit, irony, and a deep understanding of the human condition, which was an incredible feat considering the oppressive environment she lived in. Keun's work is often referred to as "New Objectivity," a writing style that focused on portraying reality without sentimentality. She broke convention and wrote from her perspective and experience, instead of conforming to the traditional writing of the time. Her writing was filled with references to popular culture, which was an effective way to draw in readers and make them think about the issues in her work.
The Artificial Silk Girl is considered Keun's most successful work and has been praised by critics for its complex characterization and unique narrative. The story follows the life of a young woman, Doris, trying to make it in the bustling city of Berlin in the late 1920s. It is a captivating portrait of a woman struggling to survive in a male-dominated world. The novel was also praised for its ability to transport readers to a time and place, capturing the essence of the era through vivid descriptions and details.
Keun's work has also been used to provide insight into the mindset of the German people during the Weimar Republic and early Nazi years. The Artificial Silk Girl is an important work of literature that provides an invaluable window into the lives of the people living in Germany during the 1920s and 30s. Its success is mainly attributed to Keun's boldness and willingness to write the truth. Her work is a testament to the power of literature and the importance of challenging conventions.