I just sent in book four in the Viennese Mysteries to my editor in London and began thinking about one of the main characters in this series installment, the famous Viennese courtesan, Josephine Mutzenbacher.
Well, perhaps famous is a bit too strong. This mythic prostitute was introduced to Viennese readers in the 1906 novel, Josefine Mutzenbacher – Die Lebensgeschichte Einer Wienerischen Dirne, Von Ihr Selbst Erzählt (Josephine Mutzenbacher – The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself). This first-person pseudo-memoir was written–the experts finally concur–by Siegmund Salzmann, better known by his pen name of Felix Salten, and, if known at all to readers outside the German-speaking world, as the author of Bambi.
In the novel, Salten depicts a strong-spirited woman in her fifties–Pepi to her friends–looking back with candor and sometimes even humor on her sexual adventures. (more…)