Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kurt Tucholsky and Rheinsberg: A Few Hours To Launch!

Rheinsberg. A Storybook for Lovers, by Kurt Tucholsky, will be presented today, May 13, at the Deutsches Haus at NYU; 42 Washington Mews, at 7pm, with Noah Eisenberg, Jack Wetherall, any myself. Tucholsky was one of the great writers of the Weimar Republic, a brilliant satirist, poet, storyteller, lyricist, pacifist, and Democrat; a fighter, lady’s man, reporter, and early warner against the Nazis who burned his books, and drove him out of Germany. Erich Kaestner called him a “small, fat Berliner,” who “wanted to stop a catastrophe with his typewriter.”

Rheinsberg, a blueprint for love for an entire generation. was his first novel and a great literary success—with the help of unorthodox marketing: A book bar in Berlin. He is how Tucholsky himself explains it in the preface for a new edition after the 50.000 copy was sold.
We had opened up the “Book Bar” on Kurfürstendamm, student nonsense that annoyed people half to death, because the shop had a polyglot sign in all languages, dead or alive—including mumbling—that cheap books were available within. The genteel clientele received schnapps. The press went beserk. Breslauer Zeitung was against it, whereas Vossische Zeitung endorsed it; Prague and Riga were neutral—we still have the clippings—and the St. Petersburg Herald wrote on December 18, 1912, that those who purchased a Wilde received a whiskey soda, and those who bought an Ibsen got a Nordic corn.
And this will be recreated at Deutsches Haus: Buy the book, get a drink (on us). Bring your friends!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Revisiting Rheinsberg: Love Before the Great War

Fans and friends of Berlinica, we have exciting news: Rheinsberg, Kurt Tucholsky's first novel comes out in English; it will be presented on May 13 at 7pm at the Deutsches Haus at NYU in New York at 42 Washington Mews. See more here. The presenter will be Noah Isenberg, Professor of Culture and Media at the New School for Liberal Arts. When the book came out in 1912, Tucholsky, together with his friend Kurt Szafranski openend a “Bücherbar” (book bar) on Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, where the lucky buyers of Rheinsberg also received a free shot of schnapps. Not breaking with tradition, Deutsches Haus at NYU will stage a reenactment of this historic precedent.

Here is more about the book: One summer before World War I, a young couple escapes the daily drudgery of their life in Berlin for a romantic weekend getaway to the town of Rheinsberg. They spend three days in the midst of a rural landscape filled with country houses and castles, cobblestone streets, lush forests, and dreamy lakes. The story of Wolfie and Claire told with a fresh, new style of ironic humor, became Tucholsky’s first literary success and gave an entire generation a new blueprint for love. Kurt Tucholsky was one of the most renowned journalists and satirists of the Weimar Republic and a pacifist who sounded an early warning against the growing threat of National Socialism. 


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