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White-collar workers, mass culture and 'Neue Sachlichkeit' in Weimar Berlin : a reading of Hans Fallada's 'Kleiner Mann Was Nun? Erich Kastner's Fabian and Irmgard Keun's 'Das Kunstseidene Madchen'

Smail, Deborah Maria Olive; (1996) White-collar workers, mass culture and 'Neue Sachlichkeit' in Weimar Berlin : a reading of Hans Fallada's 'Kleiner Mann Was Nun? Erich Kastner's Fabian and Irmgard Keun's 'Das Kunstseidene Madchen'. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The novels explored in this thesis depict the trials and tribulations of three white-collar workers in Weimar Berlin. I argue that much of the everyday experience of the protagonists is shaped by commercial influences. These influences penetrate their jobs, their places of entertainment and their private and public relationships in very subtle, but nonetheless powerful and often damaging ways. The protagonists adopt various strategies through which they attempt to establish an identity for themselves away from the ones they are offered by their work environments and places of entertainment. While they may be partially successful in maintaining a private sphere which is not touched by commercial forces, this can only be achieved at the expense of any real engagement or involvement with society. Forced to retire to the margins of society, they have no choice but to become passive spectators of the world around them. The thesis opens with a historical overview of the rise of the white-collar workers and mass culture in Weimar Berlin. Subsequent chapters focus on the depiction of the work spheres of the protagonists, their places of entertainment and their private and public lives. After a chapter on Curt Koreck's Fuhrer durch das "lasterhafte" Berlin, which offers an illuminating picture of Weimar Berlin night life, the thesis ends with a discussion of the connection between the concept of Neue 8achlichkeit and commercialization. Here it is argued that many of the commercial factors shaping the experience of the protagonists can be traced to social changes in Weimar Berlin and may profitably be understood as part of the broad, but ambiguous concept of Neue Sachlichkeit.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: White-collar workers, mass culture and 'Neue Sachlichkeit' in Weimar Berlin : a reading of Hans Fallada's 'Kleiner Mann Was Nun? Erich Kastner's Fabian and Irmgard Keun's 'Das Kunstseidene Madchen'
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by EThOS.
UCL classification: ?? AL ??
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572443
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