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Internationales Alfred-Döblin-Kolloquium Cambridge 2017

Natur, Technik und das (Post-)Humane in den Schriften Alfred Döblins

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Edited By Steffan Davies and David Midgley

Das Verhältnis Mensch – Natur und das Leben in einer technisierten Welt sind Themenbereiche, die Alfred Döblin in seinen Erzählwerken und Essays immer wieder – und in mannigfaltigen Beziehungen – erkundet hat. Die hier versammelten Beiträge bieten neue Einsichten in die Entwicklung von Döblins Natur- und Weltauffassung. Sie befassen sich mit seiner Aufarbeitung der mit der Technik verbundenen Wissenskultur und sozialer Praxis, mit den Beziehungen zwischen seiner Thematik und aktuellen Erörterungen des ‚Posthumanen’ sowie mit Aspekten seiner Erzählpraxis und ethischen Orientierung, die mit diesen Themen verbunden sind. Der Band dokumentiert das 21. Internationale Alfred-Döblin-Kolloquium, das 2017 zum Thema „Natur, Technik und das (Post-)Humane in den Schriften Alfred Döblins" in Cambridge, England, tagte.

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Mario Slugan: The Role of Montage in Berlin Alexanderplatz in Relation to Technology, Nature and the Psyche

The Role of Montage in Berlin Alexanderplatz in Relation to Technology, Nature and the Psyche

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Mario Slugan

Abstract: The article offers an alternative to the standard approach to literary montage in Berlin Alexanderplatz, wherein montage is generally construed as an umbrella term for stylistic devices of interest and as such is used for exploring the metaphorical congruence between form and content. Building on the late-1920s reception of the novel, this contribution instead proposes a narrower understanding of literary montage. According to this account, literary montage amounts to perceptually disruptive use of ready-mades. Once such an understanding is secured, we can treat Berlin Alexanderplatz in a new light from a number of perspectives including comparatist, narratological, historical, and hermeneutic. First, although nowadays regularly described in terms of literary montage, Ulysses and Manhattan Transfer were not received as such by their contemporaries, meaning that they deployed stylistic devices that were significantly distinct from Berlin Alexanderplatz. Second, Berlin Alexanderplatz presents a key narratological development in the history of the novel by introducing the multiplication of extradiegetic heterodiegetic narrators. Finally, we can read Berlin Alexanderplatz less as a tale of the psychological fragmentation of Franz Biberkopf and more as a representation of the narrator’s mental affliction caused by the search for an appropriate epic form.

Keywords: literary montage, narrator, modernity, representation of mental states

Alfred Döblin’s work, especially his Berlin Alexanderplatz, has often been discussed as an example of the appropriation of film poetics by the literary medium. Döblin himself had advocated the idea of “Kinostil” as early as 1913,1...

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