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Feminist Fiction in German

Welcome to this library guide providing an overview of feminist fiction written in German from the late nineteenth century to the present. The guide features texts, translations, and selected criticism.

All of the materials featured here are available either for checkout or online use through the IU Bloomington Libraries.

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Please note that library catalog records may contain terms and language that are offensive or harmful by modern standards. Contact Catherine J. Minter to report catalog records containing harmful language.

Featured texts in translation

Hedwig Dohm, Become Who You Are (1894)

Become Who You Are

Translation of Hedwig Dohm's 1894 novella about an aging widow, Werde, die Du bist!

About | Access e-book | Read in German

Gabriele Reuter, From a Good Family (1895)

From a Good Family

Gabriele Reuter's bestselling novel about a middle-class girl who refuses to conform to gender and class expectations. Originally published in German in 1895.

About | Read online in German with the HathiTrust

Lou Andreas-Salomé, Fenitschka and Deviations (1898)

'Fenitschka' and 'Deviations'

Two novellas by Lou Andreas-Salomé featuring remarkable female protagonists. Originally published in 1898.

About | Read in German

Gabriele Tergit, Käsebier Takes Berlin (1931)

Käsebier Takes Berlin

Gabriele Tergit's 1931 satire about the rise to stardom of an unappealing male protagonist in Weimar era Berlin. 

About | Read in German 

Irmgard Keun, The Artificial Silk Girl (1932)

The Artificial Silk Girl

Translation of Irmgard Keun's bestselling novel about the limited options available to working-class women in Weimar Germany, Das kunstseidene Mädchen.

About | Read in German

Renate Rasp, A Family Failure (1967)

A Family Failure

Translation of prize-winning satirical novel by Renate Rasp, Ein ungeratener Sohn (1967) – a searing critique of the West German family.

About | Read in German

Christa Wolf, The Quest for Christa T. (1968)

The Quest for Christa T.

Translation of Christa Wolf's Nachdenken über Christa T. (1968), a novel that raises questions about the role of femininity in GDR socialist ideology.

About | Read in German

Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina (1971)


New translation of Ingeborg Bachmann's 1971 novel about a writer living in Vienna, and her relationships with two different men.

About | Read online with the HathiTrust | Read in German

Irmtraud Morgner, The Life and Adventures of Trobadora Beatrice as Chronicled by Her Minstrel Laura (1974)

The Life and Adventures of Trobadora Beatrice as Chronicled by Her Minstrel Laura

GDR novel from 1974 by Irmtraud Morgner examining questions of gender and the future of socialism. 

About | Read in German

Verena Stefan, Shedding (1975)


Verena Stefan's autobiographical classic from 1975 exploring a woman's search for identity against the background of the feminist movement.

About | Read in German

Brigitte Schwaiger, Why Is There Salt in the Sea? (1977)

Why Is There Salt in the Sea?

Brigitte Schwaiger's bestselling novel from 1977 about a young woman experiencing the constraints of a conventional marriage.

About | Read in German

Christa Wolf, Cassandra (1983)


Translation of Christa Wolf's 1983 novel examining patriarchy and social relations. 

About | Read in German

Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Teacher (1983)

The Piano Teacher

Award-winning novel from 1983 by Elfriede Jelinek about repressed female sexuality.

About | Read in German | Watch the film

Herta Müller, Traveling on One Leg (1989)

Traveling on One Leg

Translation of Herta Müller's 1989 novel about a Romanian woman who emigrates to Germany in the 1980s. 

About | Read in German

Emine Sevgi Özdamar, The Bridge of the Golden Horn (1998)

The Bridge of the Golden Horn

1998 novel by Turkish-German writer Emine Sevgi Özdamar about a young woman who emigrates to Berlin from Istanbul in the 1960s.

About | Read in German

Jenny Erpenbeck, The Old Child (1999)

The Old Child and Other Stories

Jenny Erpenbeck's novella about the inner life of a mysterious young girl, Geschichte vom alten Kind (1999), together with translations of four stories by the same author.

About | Read in German

Karen Duve, Rain:  A Novel (1999)

Rain: A Novel

Controversial novel published in 1999 about the dissolution of a marriage – and a house.

About | Read in German

Jenny Erpenbeck, The End of Days (2012)

The End of Days

2012 novel by Jenny Erpenbeck presented in five "books" exploring the intersection of Jewish and female identity over the course of the twentieth century. 

About | Read in German

Feminist fiction in German

Selected criticism