This work compares seven novels by writers of different political backgrounds. Concentrating on the experience of young love in the novels, it alternates sociological and literary analyses. Issues like the presentation of men and women, the attitudes to love displayed by the National Socialist state, the characterisation of society and the socio-cultural debates around the ideals of masculinity and femininity of the 1920s and the 1930s are considered. In so doing this work gives substance to notions such as the ‘crisis of manhood’, the ‘motherly woman’ and the ‘backlash against modernity’. This comparative approach establishes strikingly similar features in gender roles and the social place of love in quite disparate works revealing new insights into the Mentalitätsgeschichte of the 1930s.