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Reading Berlin 1900
Peter Fritzsche (Historiador)



Berlin in 1900 attracted writers, artists, and filmmakers whose fascination with the city manufactured an elaborate urban culture that insinuated itself into the most casual metropolitan encounters. The newspapers' daily versions fabricated Berlin into a sensational place, transforming city dwellers into flaneurs, browsers, and spectators. Paying more attention to the kaleidoscope of urban life than to singular world events, the print media reconstituted the metropolis into an extraordinary field of visual pleasure. At the same time, thanks to the extravagant and dramatic operations of the media, Berlin began to look more like the sensational front pages. Almost all Berliners were readers, and each day they took inventory of boulevards and alleyways, princes and prostitutes, the latest fashions and vanished landmarks. They consumed the city's sights as well as its commodities. Their city was an unending serial of surprise. Berlin's print culture enchanted the metropolis and thereby anticipated a modernist sensibility that celebrated the urban experience of discontinuity, instability, and transience. Fritzsche carefully explores this coming modernity, disentangling its myths from the modern experience itself and yielding an urban enclave at odds with its intended imperial destiny. It's a sharp-edged story with cameo appearances by Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, and Alfred Doblin. This sumptuous history of a metropolis and its social and literary texts, of furtive glances and passersby, provides a rich evocation of a particularly exuberant, particularly fleeting moment in history.

Idioma Inglés
Publicación 2008
Editorial Harvard University Press
Categoría Historia


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