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Modernism, Space and the CityOutsiders and Affect in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and London$
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Andrew Thacker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633470

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633470.001.0001

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(p.117) 3 Berlin
Modernism, Space and the City

Andrew Thacker

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses how modernism in Berlin vacillates between utopian and dystopian modes and moods from the end of the nineteenth century to the conclusion of the Weimar years in 1933. It argues that the culture of modernism in the city is marked by the twin features of spaciousness and restlessness. It analyses the rise of Expressionism as a dominant form in the city, linking its particular mood to the technological modernity embraced by Berlin in the early twentieth century. It illustrates these arguments by considering how Expressionist artists (e.g. Ludwig Meidner) represented a particular space in the city (Potsdamer Platz), before discussing work by Walter Ruttmann, Alfred Döblin, the expatriate Russian community (e.g. Viktor Shklovsky), and the American magazine, Broom. It then discusses cafés and queer spaces in work by W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood. It concludes by analysing the geographical emotions prompted by Berlin in two important memoirs by English visitors to the city: Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin and Bryher’s The Heart to Artemis.

Keywords:   Expressionism, Dystopia, Queer space, Technological modernity, Potsdamer Platz, Broom, W. H. Auden, Bryher, Christopher Isherwood, Ludwig Meidner

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