Berlin Alexanderplatz: Radio, Film, and the Death of Weimar Culture

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University of California Press, Jan 9, 2006 - Performing Arts - 316 pages
This fascinating exploration of a work that was the epitome of German literary modernism illuminates in chilling detail the death of the Weimar Republic's left-leaning culture of innovation and experimentation. Peter Jelavich examines Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), a novel that questioned the autonomy and coherence of the human personality in the modern metropolis, and traces the radical discrepancies that came with its adaptation into a radio play (1930) and a film (1931). Jelavich explains these discrepancies by examining not only the varying demands of genre and technology but also the political and economic contexts of the media—in particular, the censorship practices in German radio and film. His analysis culminates in a richly textured discussion of the complex factors that led to the demise of Weimar culture, as Nazi intimidation and the economic strains of the Depression induced producers to depoliticize their works. Jelavich's book becomes a cautionary tale about how fear of outspoken right-wing politicians can curtail and eliminate the arts as a critical counterforce to politics—all in the name of entertainment.
 

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Contents

The Novel Berlin Alexanderplatz
1
Politics and Censorship at the Berlin Radio Hour
36
Cultural Programming and Radio Plays
62
The Radio Play The Story of Franz Biberkopf
93
Film Censorship in the Weimar Era
126
Nazi Threats to Film
156
The Film Berlin Alexanderplati
191
EPILOGUE
240
NOTES
249
INDEX
295
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Peter Jelavich, Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, is author of Berlin Cabaret (1993) and Munich and Theatrical Modernism: Politics, Playwriting, and Performance, 1890-1914 (1985).

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