From A Good Family

June 1999
1 black and white illustrations
268 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, HIS014000, FIC014000

From A Good Family

Gabriele Reuter

Translated by Lynne Tatlock

First English translation of the famous German novel about a woman's struggle against Victorian social conventions.
Upon publication in 1895, Gabriele Reuter's From a Good Family (Aus guter Familie) became something of a cultural event, making its author one of Germany's most talked-about women of letters. Set in the first two decades of the Second German Reich, this story of a Prussian bureaucrat's daughter caught between conformity and rebellion struck at the core of the class that upheld the empire, revealing the hypocrisy and misery at the very heart of the bourgeois family. It recorded the conflicted and ultimately interminable adolescence of a middle-class girl who failed to fulfill the destiny prescribed for her by her gender and class, a young woman who, despite an incipient high-spiritedness and independence of mind, internalized the attitudes of her culture to the point of lethal self-censorship.

Gabriele Reuter (1859-1941) began writing in her teens but did not experience a literary and commercial breakthrough until the publication of From a Good Family in 1895. This success enabled her finally to live as a freelance writer. In addition to a string of popular novels she wrote essays and sketches for German and Austrian newspapers; in the 1920s and 1930s she regularly reviewed German books for the New York Times.

Lynne Tatlock is Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis.

Table of Contents

Translator's Note
From a Good Family, Part I
From a Good Family, Part II


This acute and angry analysis of a respectable middle-class girl whose emotional, sexual, and intellectual needs go unmet by her society possesses the kind of energy and conviction that make it live in the mind. Expertly translated by Lynne Tatlock, whose introduction provides precisely the historical information and critical insight that readers need, the novel will be invaluable particularly for Women's Studies courses -- and a good read for just about anyone. --Patricia Meyer Spacks, Virginia

Superb. --Elke Frederiksen, University of Maryland

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