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Diary of a Lost One

lulu This page includes introductory material to early American and British editions of The Diary of a Lost One, by Margarete Bohme. This first American edition was likely published by The Hudson Press in 1908. Included here is the foreword and preface to that edition. The foreword is attributed to "F. F.," and the preface is by the author.

An early British edition was published by Sisley's Ltd. of London. (The copyright reads "Copyright in the United States of America by Fontaine & Co. 1907.") Included here is the "Publisher's Note," which preceeds the same preface by Bohme. As is evident, the forward to the American edition and the publisher's note to the British edition follow each other closely. Neither edition names the translator of the book, which was originally published in Germany.

Presented at the end of the page are images of four different editions of the book, which served as the basis for the 1929 G.W. Pabst film, Die Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (The Diary of a Lost Girl).

Forward to The Diary of a Lost One (American edition)

There can be no doubt that this Diary is a truthful record of the actual life of a woman who had lived in the "half-world." The pages pulsate with a fever of protest; with a longing for unachievable reconciliation with the world of morality. It is a pitiful appeal to the inexorable tribunal of public opinion.

The publication of the Diary in Germany called forth a redundance of criticism. It was condemned, by some superficial minds, for its frankness; but it has been equally praised by the large majority of thoughtful readers who recognize in this wonderful human document a work which must exert a vast influence through the great moral lesson it conveys.

This terrible picture of life has stirred to the depths the hearts of a legion of readers, and it will arouse the deepest and most serious thought among the American people. It will compel the grave attention of every humanist who inquires into social conditions.

Every normal, thinking, grown-up man and woman should read it.

F. F.

Preface to The Diary of a Lost One (American and British editions)

When this Diary came into my hands it was my intention to work up the material into a novel, after a certain time had passed.

On the advice of my publisher, Herr Fontane, I afterwards changed my mind, and resolved to give it (after the necessary editing) in its original form to the public. The only alterations are those which had to be made in the names of the various persons mentioned in the book, and in certain passages which were quite unfit for publication.

Nothing is further from my intention than to enrich what is called "the literature of pornography" by the publication of these pages. The slight and entirely unadorned narrative has no claim whatever to literary value; it is nothing, and pretends to be nothing, but an authentic contribution to a burning social question. More powerfully and more convincingly than the most brilliant descriptions of an experienced writer do these pages speak to us, and illumine with a glaring precision that mournful world of the outcasts and pariahs of society.

If the perusal of them should move a reader here and there to serious thought, and show him that no human being, however strong, however highly placed, can be stronger than his fate, that neither prosperity nor culture, nor a high social position, can bid defiance to death and sorrow, and guard impregnably our own young people from such a destiny as poor Thymian's if this reflection leads him to the conclusion that one should not pass by in thoughtless indifference or in pitiless contempt these unhappy creatures, but should look and look again, and seek to separate vice from misfortune then the aim of this publication will have been attained. Then Thymian will not in vain have given us the story, the tragic chronology of her ruined life. . . . And perhaps, too, her life will not have been a wholly "lost" one.

Margarete Bohme

Publisher's Note to The Diary of a Lost One (British edition)

OUR chief apology for placing in the hands of the British public this authorised translation of Die Tagebuch einer Verlorenen must be the great moral lesson it conveys. The book has been read by thousands in the land where it originally appeared, it has stirred to the depths the hearts of a legion of readers, and has been translated into most modern languages. We sincerely believe it will arouse the deepest and most serious thought among the people of Great Britain and her Colonies, and will compel the grave attention of every humanist who inquires into social conditions. Its appearance in Germany was the signal for an outburst of criticism, and if by some superficial minds it was condemned for its frankness, it was equally praised by the large majority of thoughtful readers who saw in this wonderful human document a work which must exert a vast influence, and one which every grown-up man and woman ought to read.

diary of a lost one diary of a lost one diary of a lost one diary of a lost one
British edition
Sisley Ltd., 1907
American edition
Hudson Press, 1908
American edition
Stuyvesant Press, 1908
German edition
Suhrkamp, 1989
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