Reading Berlin 1900

Reading Berlin 1900

Reading Berlin 1900

The great cities at the turn of the century were mediated by words--newspapers, advertisements, signs, and schedules--by which the inhabitants lived, dreamed, and imagined their surroundings. In this original study of the classic text of urban modernism--the newspaper page--Peter Fritzsche analyzes how reading and writing dramatized Imperial Berlin and anticipated the modernist sensibility that celebrated discontinuity, instability, and transience. It is a sharp-edged story with cameo appearances by Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, and Alfred Döblin. This sumptuous history of a metropolis and its social and literary texts provides a rich evocation of a particularly exuberant and fleeting moment in history.

From Library Journal
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Berlin was transformed from the courtly seat of an arriviste principality into a bustling modern city. The court of the Hohenzollerns that dominated the city in the 1880s had, by the 1910s, become just one colorful aspect of a varied and pulsating metropolis. These two books deal in differing ways with this transformation. LaForgue offers the brief eyewitness account of a French poet in the employ of the court of the 1880s. He reflects a cultured Frenchman's critical assessment of court functions and the...

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