Friday, June 1, 2012

Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin

Movie tie-in edition published by Frederick Ungar Publishing Co.
This edition of Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin was released sometime after Rainer Werner Fassbinder's adaptation aired in 1980, although the exact year is unspecified. Döblin's novel was originally published in German in 1929 with cover art by George Salter early on in his career. Lauded as a masterpiece of European literature, Berlin Alexanderplatz is the story of criminal Franz Biberkopf upon his release from prison and follows his attempt to lead a crime-free existence—trouble and crime obviously ensue. I read somewhere that Döblin finished his first draft of Berlin Alexanderplatz and then read Ulysses by James Joyce and completely rewrote the entire book, which was subsequently published. The stylistic parallels between the two are thinly-veiled at best. That said, it also isn't an easy book to read, nor is it easy watching Fassbinder's fifteen-plus hour film version, but they both have a fair amount of merit and a solid story. The cover features a still from Fassbinder's film designed by Ted Bernstein.

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