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Feminism and Generational Conflict in Recent German Literature and Film
270 pages, 13 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-569-3 $149.00/£110.00 Hb Published (July 2017)
ISBN 978-1-78920-499-5 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (June 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78533-570-9 eBook
“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
“McCarthy’s study traverses a rather broad terrain of contemporary cultural products with incredible depth…The text brings into critical relief pressing questions about gender constructs, embodied femininities, and historiography in contemporary Germany. And, as with any good scholarship, it leaves readers yearning to find out more about how the key themes explored here will play out in fiction and reality in future decades.” • Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature
“…an optimistic and forward-looking exploration of German feminism. Offering insightful analyses of individual works through a feminist lens, it articulates a utopian vision for the future, one built on the foundation a conceptual pairing that recurs as a refrain throughout the book: ‘difference and affinity’…Her book has both serious academic and social agenda that should be of broad interest.” • Seminar. A Journal of German Studies
“At once broad in scope and deep in its readings of individual texts, this important book marks an essential contribution to the scholarship on literary and public developments in feminism in Germany since 1990. One of its strengths is the thorough contextualization of feminist debates within a much longer history of feminist engagement in the German cultural context and in diverse feminist theoretical frameworks.” • German Studies Review
“Her book forms a valuable contribution to thinking about contemporary German feminism. its complex readings of novels and films are underpinned by astute discussions of theory and informed by an acute awareness of relevant trends and tendencies in German culture. The book is particularly illuminating on anger and contempt, mother-daughter relations, and solidarity, that ongoing project. McCarthy’s evocation of the polyphony of feminist voices that gain power from each other as they reach both back into the past and forward into the future is particularly productive and compelling.” • The German Quarterly
“This book is not for those new to these primary texts, but, for those who are curious about contemporary feminisms and their complicated, messy, and awkward expressions, it provides rich reading.” • Feminist German Studies
“McCarthy’s study traverses a rather broad terrain of contemporary cultural products with incredible depth… McCarthy’s text brings into critical relief pressing questions about gender constructs, embodied femininities, and historiography in contemporary Germany. And, as with any good scholarship, it leaves readers yearning to find out more about how the key themes explored here will play out in fiction and reality in future decades.” • Studies in 20th & 21st-Century Literature
“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).