Literary Berlin in Golden 20s
Within only a few years Berlin advanced to the “literary capital” of Germany during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). Thereby the modern city was not only a production place for writers of a great variety of genres. Rather novelists and poets, dramatists and feuilletonists focused on municipal subjects in their works. In the course we’re going to analyse novels like “Berlin Alexanderplatz” from Alfred Döblin, “Das kunstseidene Mädchen” from Irmgard Keun and “Fabian” from Erich Kästner as well as of poems from Bertolt Brecht, Gottfried Benn or Georg Trakl and essayistic texts like Franz Hessels “Spazieren in Berlin” or Bernard von Brentanos “Wo in Europa liegt Berlin?” We will have to question, how the authors react to the rapidly changing living conditions in the million-strong metropolis and in which way the literary and essayistic texts mirror the multifaceted social-cultural realities of the so called Golden Twenties – a time, in which enormous social ills prevailed just below a shimmering surface and life was oscillating between glamour and gutter.
Required texts: Döblin: Berlin Alexanderplatz (Fischer); Hessel: Spazieren in Berlin (Berlin Verlag Taschenbuch (2012)); Kästner: Fabian (dtv); Keun: Das kunstseidene Mädchen (List).