In his monumental and uncompleted Arcades Project as well as in his two essays on Paris, Walter Benjamin defined the major themes and anxieties of the nineteenth century using the example of Paris. I believe that Berlin in the twentieth century is a similarly exemplary city, a place where the conflicts and anxieties as well as the hopes and dreams of the twentieth century are reflected.
What follow are the beginnings of an attempt to explore Berlin and the twentieth century - both through the more abstract pursuit of its history, its architecture and politics, and through the concrete and personal visions of the people who live there.
Much of the writing here is my own; some of it is critical, some of it is creative nonfiction. While I may add some of my own fiction at a later date, all of my work on this site so far is nonfiction. I am including descriptions of people, ruminations on particular aspects of the city, city history, and other writings that relate to Berlin. Most of the links between pages are random; there is no set process by which you encounter Berlin here, and no map. The best way to get to know a city is to get lost in it - although I do always provide a link at the bottom that will take you back here to the index page.
If it is not otherwise attributed, the work is my own.
I have also quoted - sometimes at length - the work of authors connected in some way to Berlin. You will encounter some of Benjamin's writings about the city and his childhood there, Christopher Isherwood on his stay in Berlin, moments from Alexander Döblin's classic novel Berlin Alexanderplatz, and many more. These citations are marked as such, and I have included as much information on the source as possible, should you want to read more.
Please note that this site, like my experience of Berlin, is bilingual, so you will encounter some links to German texts; at the bottom of each page are links, so if you encounter a page you can't read or have already read before, just click on a new link at the bottom of the page.
Links to other pages on my website will generally open in the same browser window. Links to external sites will open in a new window.
Enjoy your journey.
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