Journey Through America
Amerikafahrt by Wolfgang Koeppen is a masterpiece of observation, analysis, and writing, based on his 1958 trip to the United States. A major twentieth-century German writer, Koeppen presents a vivid and fascinating portrait of the US in the late 1950s: its major cities, its literary culture, its troubled race relations, its multi-culturalism and its vast loneliness, a motif drawn, in part, from Kafka's Amerika. A modernist travelogue, the text employs symbol, myth, and image, as if Koeppen sought to answer de Tocqueville's questions in the manner of Joyce and Kafka. Journey through America is also a meditation on America, intended for a German audience and mindful of the destiny of postwar Europe under many Americanizing influences.