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Mapping Berlin

Representations of Space in the Weimar Feuilleton

Frances Mossop

This book was the winner of the 2013 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in German Studies.

The Weimar period (1919–1933) generated an immense wealth of writings that recorded impressions of daily life in the German capital of Berlin. Literary journalism, in particular, experienced a surge in popularity at the time and played a vital role in informing the public about the ‘new world’ that was emerging after the First World War.
This book offers an original approach to the German feuilleton of the 1920s and early 1930s by exploring how authors engaged with the space of Berlin on the page. Drawing on recent spatial theory, the author focuses on the role of geography and cartography in the journalistic oeuvres of Joseph Roth, Gabriele Tergit and Kurt Tucholsky. Central to this study is an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the examination of their feuilleton articles by foregrounding spatiality within the context of literary analysis. The book demonstrates how Roth, Tergit and Tucholsky depict contemporary concerns through spatial representation, thus yielding new insights into the authors’ narration of the history, society and politics of the Weimar Republic.
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Accounts of Weimar Berlin in the literary feuilleton of the 1920s and early 1930s have received little consideration to date in terms of their spatial dimension. This book brings together two areas of research by using spatial categories for a close reading of Weimar Berlin’s city literature. In considering such aspects as mapping, mobility, territorial oppositions, urban borders and the allocation of space in the analysis of feuilletons, this book has sought to confirm Jaimey Fisher’s claim that analyses of space in the context of German studies have the capacity ‘to expand our understanding of German culture’1 by demonstrating the productivity of spatial theory as a mode of investigation for literary texts. The close spatio-temporal relationship that characterizes feuilletons makes them an ideal medium for a spatial reading of Berlin journalists’ record of the socio-political and cultural developments of the interwar period.

The 1920s Berlin feuilleton

This book has firstly sought to reveal how writers directed public awareness of spaces: feuilleton articles constructed a specific kind of image of the times they aspired to represent, and their focus on distinct spaces (and the topics associated with these) endowed Berlin with an identity, one that continues to circulate to this day. Investigating the portrayal of symbolic sites (Potsdamer Platz, Alexanderplatz, Gleisdreieck) in the Weimar feuilleton helps us understand how certain types of mental image of interwar Berlin have been created through the repetitive treatment of spaces ← 189 | 190 → with representative function – spaces that are used...

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