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Konsum und Imagination- Tales of Commerce and Imagination

Das Warenhaus und die Moderne in Film und Literatur- Department Stores and Modernity in Film and Literature

Edited By Godela Weiss-Sussex and Ulrike Zitzlsperger

Das Warenhaus war über Deutschland hinaus bis in die 1930er-Jahre einer der kulturgeschichtlich bedeutendsten Ansatzpunkte für die Auseinandersetzung mit der Moderne und der Konsumkultur. Die Autoren und Autorinnen dieses Bandes zeigen sowohl den Facettenreichtum des Warenhaus-Diskurses in der Literatur, dem Feuilleton, in Musicals und im Film als auch die Bandbreite der teils sozial-und kulturkritischen, teils fortschrittsorientierten Thematisierungen auf. Dabei kommen Romane von Zola, Brecht und Fallada sowie Schriften weniger bekannter Autoren zur Sprache. Das emanzipatorische Potenzial des Warenhausthemas findet ebenso Beachtung wie waren- und konsumästhetische Strategien, die in Literatur, Film und anderen Medien reflektiert werden.
Until the 1930s department stores provided, in Germany as elsewhere, one of the focal points of cultural and critical engagement with modernity and consumer culture. The authors of this volume explore the diversity of the discourse on department stores in literature, the feuilleton, musicals and film. They demonstrate the scope of the discourse from cultural criticism to more progress-oriented examinations of the theme. Novels by Zola, Brecht and Fallada are discussed, as well as writings by lesser known authors. Attention is paid to the emancipatory potential of department stores as well as to the aesthetics of consumption as reflected in literature, film and other media.
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High Tea at Hannington’s


The entry into Brighton by train is as grandiose today as it was in the 1950s. The sweeping double arcs of Wallis’s station roof still impress, even if virtually everything else I remember from childhood either has changed or has vanished altogether. That graceful roof writes poetry, but much of what is below talks prose. It wasn’t always so. The concourse once was stylish, and ushered you through and out to the top of Queen’s Road, a straight line down to one of the town’s landmarks, the Clock Tower, and thence to the sea.

In the Fifties, I lived with my family some ten miles from Brighton in the small town – The Village, as some people called it with barbed affection – of Steyning, one of those picturesque and slightly self-regarding settlements tucked into the South Downs. The contrast with Brighton was marked. Brighton was an altered state of mind, and a whole world away. Its position relative to Steyning was perfect, neither too near nor too far. I went there regularly, usually on my own, for reasons avowable and not. But twice a year, there was the ritual of a family visit, parents, sister, brother, self. The December trip was to buy festive things, since Brighton had so much more choice than The Village and at much better prices, on top of which in its department stores we’d get free presents from the Father Christmas in whom even my small brother had long since ceased to...

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