Mapping Weimar Berlin: Representations of Space in the Feuilletons of Joseph Roth, Gabriele Tergit and Kurt Tucholsky
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I wish to publish the thesis in due course (or parts of it).
Feuilleton articles published during the Weimar period in major Berlin newspapers captured the dynamics of the era. The contrast between pre-revolutionary Wilhelmine Berlin and the industrial modernity that characterised the Weimar capital was particularly influential for journalistic writing. Feuilleton items – short, subjective accounts falling between literary narrative and journalism – offered a sense of re-orientation in altered times by commenting on aspects of daily social and political life in the city. As such, feuilletons are inseparable from Berlin and the events unfolding there during the 1920s and early 1930s. Drawing on the spatial turn in recent cultural studies, this thesis explores how individual feuilleton writers construct Weimar Berlin on the page. Its specific interest is in examining representations of space in the articles of authors and journalists Joseph Roth (1894–1939), Gabriele Tergit (1894–1982) and Kurt Tucholsky (1890–1935). They contributed to the flourishing feuilleton scene in the metropolitan broadsheets and journals, and their works remain significant beyond Berlin and the era of the Weimar Republic. Central to my thesis is the interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of their journalistic oeuvres, which foregrounds spatiality within the context of literary analysis. In particular, I illustrate how the authors’ perceptions of the post-war world are articulated through the use of spatial categories. Here, Berlin is shown to be subject to individual acts of mapping as Roth, Tergit and Tucholsky explore the issues of the day via the depiction of specific types of space in the city. Space as an analytical category is a novel, as yet unexplored, means of reading feuilleton articles, and it allows us to identify recurring themes or programmatic issues pursued by writers. Spatial theory, I argue, enhances our understanding of how contemporaries perceived the city and therefore their times. This in turn provides us with new, valuable knowledge of Berlin and the Weimar period.
PhD in German