Katharina Rout

New English Translation by VIU Professor Emerita Katharina Rout


Cover of Branded: A Diary

VIU Professor Emerita Katharina Rout has translated and produced a timely Broadview Press scholarly edition of Emmy Hennings’ autobiographical novel, Branded: A Diary. Begun during World War I, while living in Switzerland, and published in Germany in 1920, Das Brandmal: Ein Tagebuch is a fictionalized account of Hennings’ own life as an actor. The narrator Dagny remembers her past in order to “illuminate the present,” recognizing she’s been falling into disorder since birth while realizing how memories intensify guilt. The resonance of the novel arises from Hennings’ candid accounts of poverty and sexual exploitation, and also her spiritual celebration of sexual desire and sex work.

Perhaps best known as a co-founder, with her husband Hugo Ball, of the Cabernet Voltaire and thus Zürich Dadaism, and for her work curating Ball’s legacy after his death, Hennings was also a well-known poet and performer. Described as “hauntingly beautiful” by Jill Suzanne Smith, Rout’s translation makes this Modernist novel accessible and relevant to a twenty-first century English audience. Her consummate introduction and meticulous appendices frame and contextualize both Hennings life and the gender, socio-economic, and aesthetic stakes of the novel. You can find this wonderful edition at Broadview Press.