By Roland Dollinger, Wulf Koepke, Heidi Thomann Tewarson
Alfred DГ¶blin (1878-1957) was once one of many nice German-Jewish writers of the 20 th century, a big determine within the German avant-garde prior to the 1st international warfare and a number one highbrow in the course of the Weimar Republic. DГ¶blin enormously stimulated the historical past of the German novel: his best-known paintings, the best-selling 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz, has usually been in comparison in its use of inner monologue and literary montage to James Joyce's Ulysses and John Dos Passos's long island move . DГ¶blin's oeuvre is on no account constrained to novels, yet during this style, he provided a shocking number of narrative concepts, subject matters, constructions, and outlooks. DГ¶blin's impression on German writers after the second one international warfare was once massive: GГјnter Grass, for instance, said him as ''my teacher.'' And but, whereas Alexanderplatz maintains to fascinate the analyzing public, it has overshadowed the remainder of DГ¶blin's enormous oeuvre. This quantity of conscientiously centred essays seeks to do justice to such very important texts as DГ¶blin's early tales, his a number of different novels, his political, philosophical, scientific, autobiographical, and spiritual essays, his experimental performs, and his writings at the new media of cinema and radio.Contributors: Heidi Thomann Tewarson, David Dollenmayer, Neil H. Donahue, Roland Dollinger, Veronika Fuechtner, Gabriele Sander, Erich Kleinschmidt, Wulf Koepke, Helmut F. Pfanner, Helmuth Kiesel, Klaus MГјller-Salget, Christoph Bartscherer, Wolfgang DГјsing. Roland Dollinger is affiliate professor of German at Sarah Lawrence university; Wulf Koepke is professor emeritus of German at Texas A&M collage; Heidi Thomann Tewarson is professor of German at Oberlin university.
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Oh, ich versteh dein Lächeln, wie ich es immer verstanden habe; nun höhnst du meiner dort . . Bei den Mächten bist du” (JR, 204). He feels compelled to complete his sacrifice, building a pyre and joining her in the flames in order to be with the powers of nature. For Irene, the perfect complement to Johannes, pleasure is coupled with fear and horror (JR, 149), and her death is accompanied by feelings of ecstasy (200–201). On the intellectual and philosophical level, this pathetic story of sexual awakening represents a prevalent theme in turn-of-the-century literature.
Particularly germane to an understanding of Döblin is the tension between his rebellion against the existing social, that is, bourgeois, order and his ambition to succeed, which necessitated his embrace of the social norms under which he suffered. Beginnings Döblin’s first attempts at writing occurred during his unhappy student days at the Gymnasium. Defiantly, he penned his first works beneath his school desk. Not surprisingly, they spring from a variety of influences that the young author was absorbing at the time, including contemporary literature, philosophy, science, and even politics.
Finally, Johannes, in Der schwarze Vorhang, is a clear case of sexual pathology as set forth in the numerous studies of the time as well as in Freudian 11 psychoanalytic theory. The fascination with psychological and sexual pathologies is not exclusive to Döblin’s writing. It made its way into literature generally in the form of characters displaying symptoms ranging from weak ego structures (identities) to severe mental illness and perversions. Döblin makes this explicit in his summary of the novel’s intention: “Sexual Pathologisches wird also auf ein normalpsychisches Verhalten zurückgeführt, als dessen Verschärfung, und eben durch diese Zurückführung begreiflich und künstlerisch darstellungsfähig” (B I, 23).