Lily Braun (1865-1916)

Lily Braun (1865-1916)

German Writer, Feminist, Socialist

Ute Lischke


Hardback out of stock

Camden House



First book-length treatment of the famous German feminist and writer.
Lily Braun, born to a prominent aristocratic family in 1865, became one of the leading German feminists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and a very successful writer, both of feminist political tracts and of novelistic works. She played a leadership role in German feminism with such groups as the Verein Frauenwohl (Association for Women's Well-Being) and the Social Democratic Party; her efforts included lobbying for the establishment of maternity insurance and better education and housing for women. Despite her energetic activism, she came into increasing conflict with other leading socialist women -- most notably Clara Zetkin -- who were suspicious of her aristocratic origins and her relatively bourgeois brand of socialism. This led her to retreat from politics and pursue a longtime interest in writing with works such as the fictionalized account of her grandmother's life in Goethe's Weimar, Im Schatten der Titanen (In the Shadow of the Titans) and the later, thinly fictionalized Memoiren einer Sozialistin (Memoirs of a Socialist), based on her own life.
Startlingly, by 1914 Braun was espousing nationalistic ideas that would later be taken up by the National Socialists, and had repudiated many of her long-held feminist stances. She was no longer a pacifist, and her 'feminism' now encompassed racial hygiene. Lischke provides a view of both the political and the literary sides of this enigmatic figure, as well as views of the German feminism and literary trends of the period.

Ute Lischke is professor of German and co-ordinator of International Studies Programs at the University of Toronto.


June 2000
6 black and white illustrations
164 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571131690
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT003000
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Table of Contents

The Women's Movement in Wilhelmine Germany
The Apprenticeship of Lily Braun 1885-1893
Berlin--Intellectual Development 1893-1895
Social Democracy and Radical Feminism 1896-1901
The Women's Question 1901-1903
Radical Feminist at the Fringe of the Social Democratic Party 1903-1907
In the Shadow of the Titans: Romanticized Family History 1908
Memoirs of a Socialist: Writing Autobiography as Bildungsroman 1909-1911
Feminism, Eroticism, and Art 1911-1914
The Fist World War: Identity, Race, and Ethnicity 1914-1916
Works Consulted


This work will be the definitive English-language account of this important figure, and will greatly enrich our understanding of the fascinating and in some ways exemplary tensions in 'first wave' feminism, in Germany. --Herminia Joldersma

A lively portrait of a courageous and politically oriented feminist... --G. Brude-Firnau

The book explains Braun's turn toward feminism and eroticism... and her move toward nationalism. Interesting and easy to read. CHOICE

Lischke has achieved a striking overall assessment and uncovered a number of highly significant shifts of position in Braun's intellectual development. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

... presents a comprehensive view of her work for the first time -- tracing on the way her contacts with British socialism. FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES

an extremely useful introduction to the feminism and socialism of Lily Braun... GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

The author succeeds in drawing a nuanced picture in which the nationalistic ideas of Braun are not overlooked.... The book is a useful reference work for those interested in feminist history. GERMANISTIK

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