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Diplomica Verlag GmbH

Literary Images of West Berlin

Jan

31

2003

Kaufen bei diplom.de

Introduction:

This paper is a study of the image of West Berlin in (predominantly West) German literature of the past four decades. There are two aims of this work: one is to illustrate how literature can be an appropriate tool for geographic research, the second is to draw attention to the exceptional political, geographic, and existential situation of the city of West Berlin. I will present some of the psycho-social mentalities connected to living in West Berlin and expose diverse impressions and creative human responses to the living conditions in that city with its unique circumstances.

My inquiries center around certain aspects of the human experience. I plan to delineate literary examples of these concepts and show how literature is able to illuminate certain experiential factors concerning the sense of place. To 'sense' can have several meanings. First, it can refer to the function and action of the sensory organs. Then it may imply a more intuitive usage, as in „do I sense hostility?“ When outside of common rules or understanding sense becomes nonsense, or one is out of one's senses. A sense of place is something that goes beyond these usages, it is an impression which is influenced by the sensory organs, but takes its shape in the mind. It is sensing with the help of the imagination, thereby actively involving experience, environment, and emotions.

This study does not try to conclude with a nomothetic theory or make a definite statement that can be proved or disproved with statistical or empirical data. Rather it sets out to show that a sense of a place as reflected in creative writing is not only art, but also geography in practice. I shall begin this paper with a review of literature about the combination of geography and literature. This will be followed by a methodology section and a history section which briefly outlines the developments within Berlin that lead up to the Cold War, the city's division, and finally, the dismantling of the wall. Following this, the main body of the work will present and discuss appropriate literary examples. The literature passages comprise four chapters organized according to types of literary images. I have approached the organization of these themes with the help of a geographical structure - gradually moving from the outside of the city further inward until we reach deep emotions. This is essentially an organizing framework that would tie the various images together.

Thus, the first part of the literature section (chapter II) begins with those images that deal with the passage, arrival, and departure to and from West Berlin. Then I proceed to point towards images which capture the atmosphere of certain public places, such as streets, bars and night-clubs, and the people of different countries and various cultures and sub-cultures who frequent such places. The third chapter will discuss images of the wall and the changes this image underwent with the growing accustomization to the wall. The fourth chapter approaches more inward themes and takes a closer look at people's emotions, motivations and personal relations toward living in this city. This penetration into the minds and feelings of West Berliners will end with the fifth chapter, which delves into images of the city as an island, a prison, and the focal center of threatening nuclear destruction.

Gang der Untersuchung:

Diese Arbeit ist eine Studie über die Wahrnehmung von West Berlin in der (hauptsächlich West-) Deutschen Literatur zur Zeit der Mauer.

Die Arbeit möchte zwei Dinge erreichen: zum einen zeigen, wie Literatur Grundlage für geographische Forschung sein kann, und zum zweiten, Aufmerksamkeit auf die damals exzeptionelle politische, geographische und existenzielle Lage von West Berlin richten.

Meine Forschung richtet sich auf in Literatur festgehaltene Aspekte der menschlichen Erfahrungen, die man in West Berlin machen konnte. Die geographische Besonderheit des Eingeschlossenseins durch die Mauer, die damit verbundene erschwerte An- und Abreise, sowie den besonderen Status als „Puffer“ zwischen dem Osten und Westen des Kalten Krieges, spiegelt sich in den persönlichen Erfahrung der Protagonisten in der Literatur der Zeit wieder.

Anhand von literarischen Beispielen wird gezeigt, wie Literatur in der Lage ist, Wahrnehmungen der räumlichen Umgebung („sense of place“) zu verarbeiten und menschliche Empfindungen auf geographischen Gegebenheiten literarisch umzusetzen. Literatur eignet sich hierfür hervorragend, da es Ortsempfinden und Einsichten über die Landschaft in eine phänomenologische Erfahrungsebene bettet. In diesem Sinne ist belletristisches Schreiben nicht nur Kunst, sondern praktisch ausgeübte Geographie.

Table of Contents:

|Prologue|iii

|Acknowledgements|iv

|Table of Contents|v

|INTRODUCTION|1

|CHAPTER I: METHODOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND|4

A.|Geography and Literature|4

B.|Methodology|13

C.|West Berlin in History|17

|CHAPIER II: FIRST ENCOUNTERS|27

|CHAPTER III: THE WALL|40

|CHAPTER IV: PERSONAL ASSOCIATIONS|48

|CHAPTER V: POTENT IMAGES|61

|CONCLUSION|74

|ENDNOTES|77

|BIBLIOGRAPHY|101

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