Transgressionen bei Mela Hartwig: Aufzeichnungen einer Häßlichen (1928) und das Ideal der ‚Neuen Frau‘
Mela Hartwig’s story Aufzeichnungen einer Häßlichen, first published in 1928, is about a nurse who thinks she is unspeakably ugly and falls unhappily in love with her superior doctor. The protagonist tells her own story in retrospect and does not omit any embarrassment, but rather dissects her love mania in detail, from which she cannot free herself for a long time. The dreams of the ‘New Woman’ are far removed from this character, because this ideal is simply unattainable for her. Instead, negativity dominates the story from the start. Accordingly, the external approach to the modern type of woman also fails. Although the nurse is economically independent and financially well-positioned due to her professional activity, she has no chance in matters of private happiness, not least because she cannot adapt to the pragmatic lifestyle of New Objectivity. In the confrontation with her own biography, however, something liberating also emerges. Thus, in her later work with the mentally ill, she finds a way to express genuine affection and a connection with humanity - contrary to the cynicism with which New Objectivity was dealing at the time. The ideal of the ‘New Woman’ is not only temporarily suspended by this willful protagonist, but is finally dismissed as a superficial illusion.