Women in German Expressionism

Gender, Sexuality, Activism

Subjects: German Studies, Women's Studies, Literary Studies, Modern Literature
Paperback : 9780472039388, 378 pages, 12 illustrations, 6 x 9, August 2023
Hardcover : 9780472133390, 378 pages, 12 illustrations, 6 x 9, August 2023
Open Access : 9780472903672, 378 pages, 12 illustrations, 6 x 9, August 2023

The editors wish to express their sincere gratitude for a generous Humanities Book Support Award from the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. They also thank Muhlenberg College for additional support through the Department of Languages, Litera
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Literary scholarship questions and challenges the limited and fossilized gender narrative of German Expressionism

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Flipping the Prostitute: German Expressionism Reexamined after 100 Years (Anke Finger and Julie Shoults)
Intimate Strangers: Women in German Expressionism (Barbara Wright)
Situating Female Authors in the Expressionist Movement:
Elsa Asenijeff and German Expressionism (Curtis Swope)
Between Bohemian Brotherhood and the New Man: On Gender and Writing in F. Gräfin zu Reventlow’s Herrn Dames Aufzeichnungen (1913) (Carola Daffner)
“Wenn man eine Frau ist”: Female Protagonists as Social Revolutionaries (Corinne Painter)
On Their Own: Reconsidering Marianne Werefkin and Gabriele Münter (Katy Klaasmeyer)
Gender & the Body:
Somaesthetics, Gender, and the Body as Media in Claire Goll’s Racialized Expressionism (Anke Finger)
Gender, Sexuality and the Makeup of Feminine Beauty: Viennese Expressionist Ceramics and the Wieselthier Frauenkopf (Megan Brandow-Faller)
The Ecstasies of Mela Hartwig-Spira: Between Laughter and Terror (Aleksandra Kudryashova)
Sexuality – Beyond Mothers and Prostitutes:
Resituating Lu Märten’s Manifesto of Matriarchal Socialism in Expressionist Debates (Douglas Brent McBride)
Emmy Hennings: The Human Being as Woman (Nicole Shea)
Writing the Inner Strife: Emmy Hennings’s Das Brandmal. Ein Tagebuch (1920) (Mirjam Berg)
Social Issues & Activism:
“The Time is Coming”: Women Writers in the Expressionist Journal Die Aktion (1911-1932) (Catherine Smale)
Expressionism and “Female Insanity”: The Lives and Works of Else Blankenhorn (1873-1920) and Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler (1899-1940) (Daniela Müller)
Empathy for Outsiders in Women’s Expressionist Literature (Julie Shoults)


This collection, for the first time, explores women’s self-conceptions and representations of women’s and gender roles in society in their own Expressionist works. How did women approach themes commonly considered to be characteristic of the Expressionist movement, and did they address other themes or aesthetics and styles not currently represented in the canon? Women in German Expressionism centers its analysis on gender, together with difference, ethnicity, intersectionality, and identity, to approach artworks and texts in more nuanced ways, engaging solidly established theoretical and sociohistorical approaches that enhance and update our understanding of the material under investigation. It moves beyond the masculine, “New Man,” viewpoint so firmly associated with German Expressionism and examines alternative, critical, and divergent interpretations of the changing world at the time. This collection seeks to broaden the theorization, scholarship, and reception of German Expressionism by—much belatedly—including works by women, and by shifting or redefining firmly established concepts and topics carrying only the imprint of male authors and artists to this day.

Anke Finger is Professor of German Studies, Media Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut.

Julie Shoults is Visiting Lecturer in German and Women's & Gender Studies at Muhlenberg College.