The Critical Reception of Alfred Döblin's Major Novels

July 2003
262 pages
9x6 in
Literary Criticism in Perspective
ISBN: 9781571132093
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House

The Critical Reception of Alfred Döblin's Major Novels

Wulf Koepke

The first thorough study in English of the reception of Döblin's novels, written by one of the foremost Döblin scholars.
Alfred Döblin (1878-1957) is one of the major German writers of the twentieth century. His experimental, ever-changing, avant-garde style kept both readers and critics off guard, and although he won the acclaim of critics and had a clear impact on German writers after the Second World War (Günter Grass called him "my teacher"), he is still largely unknown to the reading public, and under-researched by literary scholars. He was a prolific writer, with thirteen novels alongside a great many other shorter fiction works and non-fiction writings to his credit, and yet, paradoxically, he is known to a larger public as the author of only one book, the 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz, which sold more copies in the first weeks of publication than all his previous novels combined. Alexanderplatz is known for its depiction of the criminal underground of Berlin and a montage and stream-of-consciousness technique comparable to James Joyce's Ulysses; it became one of the best-known big-city novels of the century and has remained Döblin's one enduring popular success. Döblin was forced into exile in 1933, and the works he wrote in exile were neglected by critics for decades. Now epic works like Amazonas, November 1918, and Hamlet, Oder die lange Nacht nimmt ein Ende are finding a fairer critical evaluation. Wulf Koepke tackles the paradox of Döblin the leading but neglected avant-gardist by analysis of contemporary and later criticism, both journalistic and academic, always taking into account the historical context in which it appeared.

Wulf Koepke is Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University.

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Table of Contents

Major Novels by Alfred Döblin
Contemporary Reviews before 1933
Contemporary Reviews after 1933: Döblin in Exile
Döblin Scholarship: The First Approaches
Die drei Sprünge des Wang-lun
Wadzeks Kampf mit der Dampfturbine
Berge Meere und Giganten
Berlin Alexanderplatz
Babylonische Wandrung
Pardon wird nicht gegeben
November 1918
Hamlet oder Die lange Nacht nimmt ein Ende
Döblin's Impact on Other Writers


Koepke's book contains all the features needed to familiarize Anglo-Saxon readers with one of Germany's greatest modern writers and to stimulate greater interest in his works. GERMAN QUARTERLY

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