Weimar Berlin reconsidered

The enduring allure of the Weimar Republic is inextricably intertwined with its capital city, Berlin. However, the problem of Berlin’s historical image has always been the fact that it largely relies on a handful of canonical texts, most of which supply a seriously skewed image of the city,  variously describing it as ‘Germany’s most American city’, ‘Chicago an der Spree’ and ‘Spree-Athen’; Christoper Isherwood’s famous account of Berlin’s debauchery further added to its mystery – which is being reanimated today.

Thus, there can hardly be a more timely publication than Metropolis Berlin 1880-1940. The collection of original texts, edited by Ian Boyd White and David Frisby, seriously enlarges the corpus available for research on Berlin’s history:

‘Metropolis Berlin: 1880-1940 reconstitutes the built environment of Berlin during the period of its classical modernity using over two hundred contemporary texts, virtually all of which are published in English translation for the first time. They are from the pens of those who created Berlin as one of the world’s great cities and those who observed this process: architects, city planners, sociologists, political theorists, historians, cultural critics, novelists, essayists, and journalists.’

Metropolis Berlin is part of the University of California Press’ Weimar & Now series.


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