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Mad Mädchen

Feminism and Generational Conflict in Recent German Literature and Film

Margaret McCarthy

270 pages, 13 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-569-3 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (July 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-570-9 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Buy the ebook from these vendors


“In navigating the material, McCarthy manages to capture girlish playfulness and its activist potential while projecting forward and providing a new reading of important historical movements. Written in accessible prose, the book bridges gaps between activism and theory…Highly Recommended.” • Choice

Mad Mädchen tells an original and important story about contemporary feminisms, one that moves beyond received (teleological, and often reductive) accounts of feminist waves, to argue for an understanding of the contradictions in feminism today as aesthetically and politically generative. McCarthy’s arguments emerge powerfully over the course of this book.” • Hester Baer, University of Maryland


The last two decades have been transformational, often discordant ones for German feminism, as a new cohort of activists has come of age and challenged many of the movement’s strategic and philosophical orthodoxies. Mad Mädchen offers an incisive analysis of these trans-generational debates, identifying the mother-daughter themes and other tropes that have defined their representation in German literature, film, and media. Author Margaret McCarthy investigates female subjectivity as it processes political discourse to define itself through both differences and affinities among women. Ultimately, such a model suggests new ways of re-imagining feminist solidarity across generational, ethnic, and racial lines.

Margaret McCarthy is Professor of German Studies at Davidson College, where she also teaches film and media studies. She has published articles on contemporary German literature, film, and feminism in journals such as Camera Obscura, German Quarterly, New German Critique, and Oxford German Studies. She co-edited the Women in German Yearbook as well as Light Motives: German Popular Film in Perspective (2003). More recently she edited Pop Literature: A Companion (2015).

Subject: Gender Studies Media Studies Film Studies
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations


Chapter 1. German Feminism in the 2000s: Brains, Bodies, and Bridges
Chapter 2. Lost Objects, Monsters, and Melancholia in Zöe Jenny’s The Pollen Room (1999), Alexa Hennig von Lange’s Relax (1999), and Elke Naters’ Lies (1999)
Chapter 3. Dialogical and Borderline Selfhood in Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands (2008) and Wrecked (2011)
Chapter 4. Girls Gone Wild: Ulrike Meinhof, Uschi Obermeier, and Feminist Fantasies of ‘68
Chapter 5. Counter-Cinema, Crossing Bridges, and Future Feminisms: Christian Petzold’s The State I Am In (2000) and Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven (2007)
Chapter 6. Mutable Mädchen: on Screen and in the Streets


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