Josephine Mutzenbacher

Josephine Mutzenbacher - The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself (German: Josefine Mutzenbacher - Die Lebensgeschichte Einer Wienerischen Dirne, Von Ihr Selbst Erzählt) is an erotic novel first published anonymously in Vienna, Austria in 1906. The novel is famous

:: Lit.Mod ::VOICE MANIA KulturvereinERBzine 0880: Mahlon Blaine Bio and Bib in the German-speaking world, having been in print in both German and English for over 100 years and sold over 3 million copies, - Bahle: Zensur in der LiteraturTRANS Nr. 14: Donald G. Daviau (Riverside/California): Austria at the Turn of the Century 1900 and at the Millenium becoming an erotic bestseller.PR Felix SaltenFelix Salten, Bambi, Walt Disney - Biography - Famous People from Vienna, AustriaMutzenbacher, Josefine Mutzenbacher, Erotische Führung, Wienführung, Führungen in Wien, Anna Ehrlich

Although no author claimed responsibility for the work, it was originally attributed to either Felix Salten or Arthur Schnitzler by the Librarians at the University of Vienna.PR Felix Salten Today, critics, scholars, academics and the Austrian Government designate Salten, author of the book "Bambi, A Life in the Woods" (which Walt Disney purchased in 1942 and made into the world famous animated cartoon "Bambi") as the sole author of the "pornographic classic" Josephine Mutzenbacher.Archivmeldung: Felix Salten: "Von Josefine Mutzenbacher bis Bambi"Ungeheure Unzucht - DIE WELT - WELT ONLINEOlympia Press Ebooks: $1 Literary and Erotic Classics From The Fabled Olympia Press The novel has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Hungarian and Japanese, and been the subject of numerous films, theater productions, parodies, and university courses, as well as two sequels.


The plot device employed in Josephine Mutzenbacher is that of first-person narrative, structured in the format of a memoir. The story is told from the point of view of an accomplished aging 50-year-old Viennese courtesan who is looking back upon the sexual escapades she enjoyed during her unbridled youth in Vienna. Contrary to the what the title indicates, the entirety of the book takes place when Josephine is between the ages of 5-12 years old, before she actually becomes a licensed prostitute in the brothels of Vienna. The book begins when she is five years old and ends when she is twelve years old and about to enter professional service in a brothel. Although the book makes use of many "euphemisms" for human anatomy and sexual behavior that seem quaint today, its content is entirely pornographic and unmistakably deviant in nature. The actual progression of events amounts to little more than a graphic, unapologetic description of the reckless sexuality exhibited by the heroine, all before reaching her 13th year. The style bears more than a passing resemblance to the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom in its unabashed "laundry list" cataloging of all manner of taboo sexual antics from incest, rape and homosexuality to child prostitution, group sex and fellatio.

The Mutzenbacher Decision

The Mutzenbacher Decision (Case #BVerfGE 83,130) was a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany on 27 November 1990 concerning whether or not the novel Josephine Mutzenbacher should be placed on a list of youth-restricted media. However, the significance of the case came to eclipse Josephine Mutzenbacher as an individual work, because it set a precedent as to which has a larger weight in German Law: Freedom of Expression or The Protection of the Youth.


"Pornography and Art are not Mutually Exclusive"


In Germany there is a process known as Indizierung (indexing). The "Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien" (BPjM) ("Federal testing department for media harmful to youths") collates books, movies, video games and music that could be harmful to young people because they contain violence, pornography, Nazism, hate speech or similar dangerous content. The items are placed on the "Liste jugendgefährdender Medien" ("list of youth-endangering media"). Items that are "indexed" (placed on the list) cannot be bought by anyone under 18.

When an item is placed on the list, it is not allowed to be sold at regular bookstores or retailers that young people have access to, nor is it allowed to be advertised in any manner. An item that is placed on the list becomes very difficult for adults to access as a result of these restrictions. The issue underlying the Mutzenbacher Decision is not whether the book is legal for adults to buy, own, read, and sell - that is not disputed. The case concerns whether the intrinsic merit of the book as a work of art supersedes the potential harm its controversial contents could have on the impressionable minds of minors and whether or not it should be "indexed". However, an important distinction needs to be made: A piece of media that has been "indexed" has not been banned, censored or denied to adult consumers in any official way.

The history

In the 1960s, two separate publishing houses made reprints of the original 1906 Josephine Mutzenbacher. In 1965 Dehli Publishers of Copenhagen, Denmark published a two volume edition, and in 1969 the German publisher Rogner and Bernhard printed another edition. The "Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien's" (BPjM) ("Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons") placed Josephine Mutzenbacher on its "Liste jugendgefährdender Medien" ("list of youth-endangering media"), commonly called "the index", after two criminal courts declared the pornographic contents of book obscene. The BPJM maintained that the book was pornographic and dangerous to minors because it contained explicit descriptions of sexual promiscuity, child prostitution, and incest as its exlusive subject matter, and promoted these activities as positive, insigificant, and even humorous behaivors in a manner devoid of any artistic value. The BPjM stated that the contents of the book justified it being placed on the "list of youth-endangering media" so that its availability to minors would be restricted. In 1978 a third publishing house attempted to issue a new version of Josephine Mutzenbacher that included a foreword and omitted the "glossary of Viennese Prostitution Terms" from the original 1906 version. The BPjM again placed Josephine Mutzenbacher on its "list of youth-endangering media" and the Rowohlt Publishing house filed an appeal with The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court of Germany) on the grounds that Josephine Mutzenbacher was a work of art that minors should not be restricted from reading.

The decision

On 27 November 1990 The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court of Germany) made what is now known as "The Mutzenbacher Decision". The Court prefaced their verdict by refrerring to two other seminal freedom of expression cases from previous German Case Law, the Mephisto Decision and the Anachronistischer Decision. The court ruled that under the German Grundgesetz (constitution) chapter about Kunstfreiheit (Freedom of art) the novel Josephine Mutzenbacher was both pornography and art, and that the former is not necessary and sufficient to deny the latter. In plain English, even though the contents of Josephine Mutzenbacher are pornographic, they are still considered art and can not be restricted in readership. The court's ruling forced the BPjM to remove Josephine Mutzenbacher from its "list of youth-endangering media" and it released a statement wherein it called Josephine Mutzenbacher an exception to its normal policy in the name of Kunstfreiheit (Freedom of art) which can viewed at the Official BPjM website here(German). As such, Josephine Mutzenbacher is no longer on the BPjM's "list of youth-endangering media" and is saleable to anyone without age restriction.

Further reading

Derivative works



Two novels, also written anonymously, which present a continuation of the original Josephine Mutzenbacher, have been written. However, they are not generally ascribed to Felix Salten.

Works influenced by Josephine Mutzenbacher

In 2000 the Austrian writer Franzobel published the novel "Scala Santa oder Josefine Wurznbachers Höhepunkt" (Scala Santa or Josefine Wurznbachers High Point). The title's similarity to Josephine Mutzenbacher, being only two letters different, is a play on words that is not just coincidence.THEATERheute Homepage The book's content is derivative as well, telling the story of the character "Pepi Wurznbacher" and her first sexual experience at age six.Franzobel: Scala Santa oder Josefine Wurznbachers HoehepunktEndogene Zeichen - DIE WELT - WELT ONLINE The name "Pepi Wurznbacher" is directly taken from the pages of Josephine Mutzenbacher; "Pepi" was Josephine Mutzenbacher's nickname in the early chapters.Scala Santa von Franzobel Franzobel has commented that he wanted his novel to be a retelling of the Josephine Mutzenbacher story set in modern day.Treibhaus: __franzobel : He simply took the characters, plot elements and setting from Josephine Mutzenbacher and reworked them into a throroughly modernized version that occurs in the 1990s.Deftiges Geflügelgulasch - DIE WELT - WELT ONLINE He was inspired to write the novel after being astounded at both the prevalence of child abuse stories in the German Press and having read Josephine Mutzenbacher's blatantly unapologetic depiction of the same.Günter Kaindlstorfer


Josephine Mutzenbacher has been included in several university courses and symposium.Odds & Ends, June 1998


Year German Title Translation Runtime Country Notes/English Title
1970Josefine MutzenbacherJosephine Mutzenbacher89minWest GermanyNaughty Knickers (UK)
1971Josefine Mutzenbacher II - Meine 365 LiebhaberJosephine Mutzenbacher II - My 365 Lovers90minWest Germany''Don't Get your Kinckers in a Twist'' (UK)
1972Ferdinand und die MutzenbacherinFerdinand and the Mutzenbacher Girl81minWest GermanyThe Games Schoolgirls Play (USA)
1976Josefine Mutzenbacher- Wie sie wirklich war 1Josephine Mutzenbacher- The Way She Really Was94minWest GermanySensational Janine (USA)
1978Die Beichte der Josefine MutzenbacherThe Confession of Josephine Mutzenbacher94minWest GermanyStudio Tabu, Dir. Hans Billian
1981Aus dem Tagebuch der Josefine MutzenbacherFrom the Diary of Josephine Mutzenbacher93minWest GermanyProfessional Janine (USA)
1984Josefine Mutzenbacher - Mein Leben für die LiebeJosephine Mutzenbacher - My Life for Love100minWest GermanyThe Way She Was (USA)
1987Das Lustschloss der Josefine MutzenbacherThe Chastity Padlock of Josephine Mutzenbacher85minGermanyInsatiable Janine (USA)
1990Josefine Mutzenbacher - Manche mögen's heiß! Josephine Mutzenbacher - Some Like it Hot! 90min Germany Studio EMS GmbH, Dir. Jürgen Enz
1991Josefine Mutzenbacher - Die Hure von Wien Josephine Mutzenbacher - The Whore of Vienna 90min Germany Trimax Studio, Dir. Hans Billian
1994 Heidi heida! Josefine Mutzenbackers Enkelin lässt grüßen Heidi heida! Let's Say Hello to Josephine Mutzenbacher's Granddaughter 90min Germany Studio KSM GmbH


The Viennese a cappella quartet 4she regularly performs a cabaret musical theatre production based on Josephine Mutzenbacher called "The 7 Songs of Josefine Mutzenbacher" ("Die 7 Lieder der Josefine Mutzenbacher"). The show is a raunchy, humorous parody of the novel, set in a brothel, that runs approximately 75 minutes.VOICE MANIA Kulturverein

In 2002 the German actor Jürgen Tarrach and the jazz group CB-funk performed a live rendetion of the texts of Josephine Mutzenbacher and Shakespeare set to modern music composed by Bernd Weißig and arranged by the Pianist Detlef Bielke of the Günther-Fischer-Quintett at the Kalkscheune in Berlin.Berliner Morgenpost: Tagestips vom 18.09.2002: Schauspieler auf neuen WegenKultur-Highlights - WELT am SONNTAG - WELT ONLINEJazz, Funk & Soul meets Shakespeare : Textarchiv : Berliner Zeitung

In January 2005, Austrian actress Ulrike Beimpold gave several comedy cabaret live performances of the text of Josephine Mutzenbacher at the Auersperg15-Theater in Vienna, Austria.Live dabeigewesen

In an event organized by the Jazzclub Regensburg, Werner Steinmassl held a live musical reading of Josephine Mutzenbacher, accompanied by Andreas Rüsing, at the Leeren Beutel Concert Hall in Ratisbon, Bavaria, Germany called "Werner Steinmassl reads Josefine Mutzenbacher" on 3 September 2005.Werner Steinmassl - ProgrammeVeranstaltungen - Liste

Audio adaptations

Both the original Josephine Mutzenbacher and the two "continuations" are available as spoken word audio CDs read by Austrian Actress Ulrike Beimpold:

In 1997 Helmut Qualtinger released "Fifi Mutzenbacher", a parody, on audio CD:


The Jewish Museum of Vienna displayed an exhibit at the Palais Eskeles called "Felix Salten: From Josephine Mutzenbacher to Bambi" where the life and work of Felix Salten was on display, which ran from December 2006 to March 2007. Austrian State Parliament Delegate Elisabeth Vitouch appeared for the opening of the exhibit at Jewish Museum Vienna and declared: "Everyone knows Bambi and Josefine Mutzenbacher even today, but the author Felix Salten is today to a large extent forgotten".Felix Felix Salten: "Von Josefine Mutzenbacher bis Bambi"Archivmeldung: Felix Salten: "Von Josefine Mutzenbacher bis Bambi"

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This article is based on "Josephine Mutzenbacher" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: