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Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Story of Franz Biberkopf (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. Januar 1997

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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.

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Von Ein Kunde am 4. Januar 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
Berlin Alexanderplatz is in a sense Alfred Doblins combination of Dostoeovesky and James Joyce. It is the heavy physcological tale of franz biberkopf and his diffcult sometimes surreal life in alexanderplatz. Biberkopf is caught and in ever complex web of trying to leave behind all his old afflictions to lead a better life but as the more he tries to leave his former self the more he trips and reverts back to them. Doblin combines and increable amount of physcological insight similar to Thomas mann and dostoevesky to create a deep somtimes obtuse and complex portrait of the human condition ina diffcult always chaging situations. Doblin skillfully use the interoi monologues in tandom whit his physcological insight to creat a full portrait of both biberkopfs inner and outter world. Doblin has a gritty , sometimes convoluted writting style which compliments his dark tale perfectly. also worked into his tale a number of diverse and complex charater who doblin uses to furhter probe biberkopf dark journey into his mind and soul .Doblins nove is as exhausting becaues of the dpeth and complexity of it themes but rewrards readers who are willing to endure biberkopfs trip and who are willing to engage the way Doblin is will to take of there. A powerful portrait of the human conditon as it is slowly being destoryed is presented in Doblins epic.
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HASH(0x8ee53f60) von 5 Sternen Danke sehr, Herr Einsiedler! 2. Januar 2009
Von Gio - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Cyberfriendships are one of the bizarre artifacts of contemporaneity, but without the prodding of one of my "amazon friends", I might never have gotten around to reading Berlin Alexanderplatz, one of the beacon masterworks of 20th C literature. Alfred Döblin is one of several German and Austrian writers who have not captured the attention of English-language readers as much as they deserve. Others include Robert Walser, Joseph Roth, Arno Schmidt, and Siegfried Lenz. Döblin, born in 1878, was a physician who lived and practiced medicine in the working-class district around Alexanderplatz (Alexander Plaza) in Berlin for more than twenty years, ending with his flight from Hitlerism in 1933. In the USA, he worked for MGM, but after the war he returned to Europe. Uncomfortable with the social currents in Germany, eventually he spent the last years of his life in France. After some decades of neglect, his work has now become iconic in Germany, his popularity boosted by the massive 15-hour film rendition of Berlin Alexanderplatz by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

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.
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HASH(0x8ee529c0) von 5 Sternen Excellent Use of Literary Devices Proves to be Efficient 12. Februar 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Doblin describes pre-Nazi Germany through the life of Franz Biberkopf in such a fashion that even the lax historian can get a feel for what it was like. The reader is constantly bombarded with highly symbolic analogies that quite clearly paint a portrait of rough standards of living amongst the proletariat and a highly controlling, highly nervous government. The life of Franz Biberkopf, as mentioned before, is the foundation of the story. Franz is released from prison, after having served a four year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend, only to suffer shell shock at being immediately subjected to the outside world. He soon decides to be straight and live the life of a working man. He starts on his journey which has its impediments: he is consumed by sexual desire and manipulates the women in his life, he goes into hiding at times, he has fits of jealous rage in unwarranted scenarios, and he is a member of the National Socialists. He meets many people along the way - "Fat" Lina who is his lover for a period, betraying Reinhold, loyal Eva, a friend who helps Franz, and Mieze, Franz's love - who help to change him into Franz Karl Biberkopf, a new Franz who is conscious of his country and his life. Franz's epiphany doesn't come without a price, however; he will feel the pain of loss every step of the way. Mixing Franz's episodic life story with narrations closely resembling radio news broadcasts ingeniously and gracefully lifts the veil of time and politics to give present day readers a glimpse of pre-Nazi Berlin. In Book Four the narrator intricately describes the slaughtering of pigs. Through deception, the pigs are led to the slaughter house and made to suffer as their deceptors watch trying to justify their actions. Using symbolism Doblin illustrates a disillusioned people searching so hard for stability they settle for oppression. These analogous illustrations are speckled throughout the novel. Through irony and symbolism Doblin gives the reader a unique view of pre-Nazi Germany. This was a confusing time when Germany was still wounded from World War I and it left them open to tyranny. This novel serves to place the reader in pre-Nazi Germany to experience the manipulation and politics of the working class that existed at that time.
70 von 87 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97c197bc) von 5 Sternen One of the masterpieces of German literature 29. Juni 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If you're looking for simple dialogue, simple characters, and a simple, enjoyable story, then the Hardy Boys should be right up your alley. If you want to be challenged by one of the great novels of the 20th century - expressionism at its most compelling - then settle in with Doblin. I'm a little tired of the carp "stream of consciousness" when it's nothing of the kind. The diversions into slaughterhouse techniques, newspaper ads, etc. all combine to create a visceral rendering of Berlin of the 1920's. That's the point. It's meant to jar, to attack, to disorient. That's it's genius. If you think that might bore you (or be beyond you) don't read it. You won't get it. It's not meant to be an assigment. It's meant to be an experience. If you're up to it, dive in. It'll change the way you read from then on.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97c19a20) von 5 Sternen The grim reaper 8. Oktober 2009
Von H. Schneider - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
What a miracle of condensation Doeblin achieved when he packed Fassbinder's 16 hour TV movie into a mere 400 action filled book pages!

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.
28 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97c19c78) von 5 Sternen Best German Novel 23. Mai 2002
Von S. Foster - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This is the best German novel; mordant, dark, hilarious, packed with the fascinations of Modernism and modern urban life... Joycean literary technique applied by a historical realist to the social life in one of the world's great cities at a critical turning point in its history, it's as close as the German novel can get to Rabelais, Brecht, Joyce and Dickens at the same time. Here's to Franz Biberkopf!
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