- Taschenbuch: 635 Seiten
- Verlag: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.; Auflage: New edition (31. Januar 1997)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 080446121X
- ISBN-13: 978-0804461214
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 4,1 x 13,2 x 18,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 836.213 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Story of Franz Biberkopf (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. Januar 1997
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"This reprint of the 1961 English version of the novel could hardly have been translated by a person more competent and knowledgeable than Eugene Jolas... Jolas's thorough knowledge of both languages, as proverbs and word puns, being extremely difficult to transfer from one language into another, are very well captured and translated. ...The novel provides the reader with a deep insight into life in mass society of the Weimar Republic."- Margaret Heukaefer, "International Fiction Review, "Vol. 33 2006v -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
Released from jail, Franz Biberkopf tries to live an honest life, but fate is against him as he enters the world of gangsters, thieves, and young nazis in 1920s Berlin.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Berlin Alexanderplatz is usually described as a "stream of consciousness" novel, the first to reveal the influence of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' in the German language. It was published in 1929, just a year before the American John Dos Passos published the first volume of his trilogy 'USA', also considered a seminal work of experimental fiction. If B-A is a "stream of consciousness" novel, however, it behoves us to ask whose consciousness is streaming. Unlike many such novels, B-A doesn't precisely trepan the mind of its principal character, Franz Biberkopf, to expose his flow of thoughts. Quite the opposite! This is a novel with an 'omniscient narrator' - a self-aware Schöpfer - and the consciousness streaming through its pages is the writer's own. And what a mighty stream it is! a Humboldt Current of history, mythology, religious iconology, front page news, gossip, weather reports, street-corner ranting and politics from right and left, the eternal and the ephemeral of German society all spewing over the life of the hapless "Everyman" Biberkopf. It is not, by the way, a jolly romp through the land of Bach and Goethe. It's a dark, almost revolting portrayal of the Lumpenproletariat - the under-class - of Germany in the years between the first act and the second act of the one and only Great War.
Seen from an older literary perspective, B-A is a "Totentanz" -- a Dance of Death -- or a Ship of Fools novel, a montage of the follies of mankind in which the fate of Everyman Biberkopf is analogous to the fate of Germany. Much of the 'stream of consciousness', in fact, dances to the tunes of old German nursery lullabies, army marching songs, and Lutheran hymns. This may be an obstacle for English readers, this rhythmic incorporation of song lyrics that have immediate allusive resonance for German readers but might not even be recognizable as such to Anglophones. For me, the swirling musicality of Döblin's prose was a major centripetal force, focusing my attention on the 'tale' of Biberkopf amid all the excursions and diversions of Döblin's consciousness, one moment recounting the tribulations of Job, another the trials of Odysseus among the Sirens, next a court transcript of an embezzlement, and then a drunken brawl between pimps. Without such a musical structure, A-P might have been a laborious book to read; as it is, I've found it as thrilling as wandering through an exotic, slightly dangerous, luridly sensuous carnival of life.
This grandiose novel (one of my personal top favorites), published in 1929, has been called Germany's first big city novel. Its main protagonist is Berlin. Germany lacks a dominating capital like Paris or London, so no Balzac or Dickens equivalent found a subject there in the 19th century. Berlin's greatest writer of the late 19th, Theodor Fontane, never drops the provincial tone and outlook. (He was likeable anyway, or maybe because of it.)
Berlin's career started only, really, when Bismarck founded the 2nd Reich. From the early 1870s to the 1920s, this former village in the sandy flatlands of the Mark Brandenburg became one of the most exciting places in Europe, a center for innovative arts and a hotbed of political trouble. If you are used to think in terms of painters or painting styles when imagining a novel or story or poem, then look at the expressionists of the time: Erwin Schiele, Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, George Grosz... If you know their work, you have a fairly good idea of Berlin Alexanderplatz! Just put them in words.
One might also call Doeblin's style expressionist; at least, when he produces his own text and doesn't take what he finds in the newspapers or the tram schedule or an advertisement, weather report, company profile, song text... Anyway, Doeblin actively associated himself with expressionism as a literary movement.
The novel has aspects of a collage, integrating all sorts of Berlinish details.
All this is wrapped around the story of our anti-hero: Franz Biberkopf, ie Beaverhead. (Doesn't that make you think of a popular cartoon series?).
Franz is a Lumpenprolet, a petty criminal, sometimes in a job, often unemployed; a mover between worlds. He likes to think of himself as a peaceful man, but tends to explode in violence. Domestic violence of the worst kind has brought him a jail term. After his release he has the best intentions to remain out of prison.
He has been a soldier in WW1, and he was involved in the failed revolution in 1918/19. Now he is disillusioned with his past and joins the right wing fringe for a while, without proper convictions. He is probably typical for many lost souls who moved between the political extremes. The situation at the time was quite close to a civil war, with street fights between Nazis and communists, and many assassinations.
But the novel is not primarily a political one, it is set in the half-world and the underworld of Berlin's shady end 1920s. Doeblin's understanding of the underlying motivation of the wanderers between the worlds is uncanny. The man was a medical doctor specializing on mental disorders. I think that shows. It would make sense to call the novel a murder book.
While the artistic method was obviously a dead-end (nobody writes things like this any more), this one example is pulsating with life. The novel has been compared to Ulysses; I don't see that much similarity. Doeblin for sure does not intend any allegorical parallels, despite occasional references to Greek and Old Testament mythology. If there is a mythological person that would fit as reference to Biberkopf, it is Job. There is no quarreling with God though.
It has been compared to Dos Passos' Manhattan Transfer or USA. I need to check on that, can't remember them clearly enough. I tend to think that this is also not a convincing comparison.
One of the many song texts that are used in the book is the grim reaper song: Es ist ein Schnitter, der heisst Tod...
Confession: I have not read the translation. I hope it is good. It can not have been an easy job, with all the slang and dialect and all the obscure references.