Saturday, March 9, 2013
Diary of a Lost Girl, the research continues
Lately, I have been working on a revised 2nd edition of my Louise Brooks edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl, by Margarete Bohme. (Bohme's book was the basis for the 1929 film by G.W. Pabst.) I plan on incorporating much of my new research into an expanded e-book. Notably, I have uncovered a bunch of interesting new material, including, even, a connection to Sigmund Freud! I also uncovered what I think was the very first newspaper review of The Diary of a Lost One in the United States, while finding out that the book was banned in Canada.
One of the things I have also been tracking is the influence Bohme's book had on subsequent literature. In Germany, it brought about not only a popular sequel, a controversial stage play, a parody, and two or three silent films – but a score of imitators as well. There was also a movie made from the book’s sequel; and in France, a novelization of the 1929 film with Louise Brooks was issued. (Imagine that, a novelization of a film which was based on a book.)
In England, Bohme's book lingered in the British imagination for some time. It went through at least three printings. And was referenced in a few literary works from the time - one in 1909, another in 1917. It also inspired another. That latter book, from 1931, was titled No Bed of Roses: A Pathetically Realistic Story of a Woman of the Underworld.
When No Bed of Roses was advertised in England it was described as “The Diary of a Lost Soul” (which also happened to be the original advertised English-language title of The Diary of a Lost One). In not unfamiliar language, an ad for No Bed of Roses stated “These are the actual diaries of a prostitute and dope fiend. They form one of the most important human documents uncovered in our time.”
No Bed of Roses was followed by God Have Mercy on Me. Like The Diary of a Lost One, the sequel was edited from the reportedly real life diaries of a wayward, nearly anonymous woman (named O.W.) Here is the cover for that book as well. Both covers are more than a bit lurid.