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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Artificial Silk Girl

Irmgard Keun

[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]

general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase The Artificial Silk Girl

Title: The Artificial Silk Girl
Author: Irmgard Keun
Genre: Novel
Written: 1932 (Eng. 2002)
Length: 216 pages
Original in: German
Availability: The Artificial Silk Girl - US
The Artificial Silk Girl - UK
The Artificial Silk Girl - Canada
La jeune fille en soie artificielle - France
Das kunstseidene Mädchen - Deutschland
  • German title: Das kunstseidene Mädchen
  • Translated by Katharina von Ankum
  • With an Introduction by Maria Tatar
  • Previously translated (1933) by Basil Creighton
  • Das kunstseidene Mädchen was made into a film in 1960, directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Giulietta Masina and Gert Fröbe

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Haven't seen a copy -- and neither English translation sounds ideal

Chances that we will review it:

Decent -- but probably only if we get our hands on the original German

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
New Statesman . 25/11/2020 John Self
San Francisco Chronicle . 28/7/2002 J.Alex Tarquinio
The Spectator . 20/10/1933 Graham Greene
TLS . 25/8/1932 A.W.G.Randall
TLS . 7/12/1933 R.D.Charques
TLS . 17/1/2003 Leo A. Lensing

  From the Reviews:
  • "That “freshness” arises from Keun’s ability to charm the reader -- a valuable quality often overlooked in literature -- as well as her wit, candour and the way her characters seesaw between overconfidence (“I feel strong like a revolver. I’m a detective novel”) and despair (“It doesn’t matter how much I strive to change things – nothing works”). Her technique of writing Doris’s story as a breathless real-time diary (“I’ve just lived through a sensational event”) further ensures intimacy with the reader." - John Self, New Statesman

  • "Doris punctuates the passages in which she encounters politics and racial violence with statements of profound indifference." - J.Alex Tarquinio, San Francisco Chronicle

  • "Das kunstseidene Mädchen, for example, is something like a twentieth-century Moll Flanders, and the humour and energy of the writing make the comparison not entirely absurd. (...) The frank pages that Doris sets down abound in shrewd observations" - A.W.G.Randall, Times Literary Supplement

  • "It is perhaps fairly described as impudent, though the impudence has a very human side and leaves room for much wit, much penetration and a very balanced view of the commonplaces of living. (...) Fräulein Keun leads up to the ironical climax with delicious art, without a pause in the swift, racy flow of Doris's narration. The liveliness of the story clearly owes much to Mr. Basil Creighton's translation." - R.D.Charques, Times Literary Supplement

  • "Keun's brilliant use of popular songs, advertising jingles and especially of cinematic motifs and allusions amounts to an implicit sociology of popular culture that, perhaps not coincidentally, shows striking parallels to Siegfried Kracauer's pioneering study The Salaried Masses (...) Neither the lyrical montages of the novel nor its comic inventiveness can quite shine through this murky translation by Kathie von Ankum. (...) Overall, the translation seems to be the product of haste and carelessness, an impression reinforced by the unexplained omission in at least two instances of several lines of the original." - Leo A. Lensing, Times Literary Supplement

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The Artificial Silk Girl: Reviews: Das kunstseidene Mädchen - the film: Other books by Irmgard Keun under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       German author Irmgard Keun lived 1905-1982

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