Berlin in the 1930’s
I Am a camera
1904 - 1986
•Born at Wyberslegh Hall, High
Lane, Cheshire in North West
•Attended preparatory school St.
Edmund's, and met W. H. Auden.
•At Repton School he met Edward
Upward, with whom he wrote the
extravagant "Mortmere" stories.
1904 - 1986
• In 1925 he was reintroduced to
W. H. Auden and became
Auden's literary mentor.
•He worked as a private tutor in
•Isherwood and Auden decided to
emigrate to the United States in
•Their emigration few months
before Britain entered the Second
World War, exposed them to
charges that they lacked
•He joined to the Vedanta Society.
•At the age of 48, he met teen-aged
Tomorrow belongs to me
The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
But gathered together to greet the storm
Tomorrow belongs to me.
The branch on the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen
Tomorrow belongs to me
The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee
But soon says the whisper, arise, arise
Tomorrow belongs to me
Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come
When the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me
THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC
Established in 1919 in Germany to replace
the imperial form of government.
YEARS OF CRISIS 1919 - 1923
• The German peace delegation in France signed
the Treaty of Versailles.
•First years of the Weimar Republic were
years of political crisis, economic
crisis, financial crisis; until 1923.
GOLDEN ERA 1923 - 1929
• The immediate effect was to stabilize the
unlimited demand for properties of the period of
• Reborn international confidence and
international loans to Germany began to
flock, attracted by high interest rates.
Germany’s President Paul von
Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as
Chancellor of Germany, honoring
An Enabling Act passed in parliament
gave Hitler unrestricted legislative
•Hitler established a centralized
•In 1935, Germany reacquired control of
the Saar and in 1936 military control of
the Rhineland, both of which had been lost
by the Treaty of Versailles.
•After Hitler’s suicide, german troops gave up in all
Europe, finishing the nazi Germany .
Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) is a term adopted by the Nazi
regime in Germany to describe modern art.
Such art was banned because it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist
in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to
sanctions. These included being dismissed from teaching positions,
being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, and in some cases being
forbidden to produce art entirely.
The Nazis promoted paintings and sculptures that were narrowly
traditional in manner and that exalted the "blood and soil" values of
racial purity, militarism, and obedience. Similarly, music was
expected to be tonal and free of any jazz influences. Films and plays
were also censored.
“Willkommen” from the Cabaret
I am a camera
Goodbye to Berlin is, from the point
From my window, the deep solemn of view of sociological theories of
massive street. Cellar-shops where novel, a portrait of the Berlin of the
the lamps burn all day, under the
1930´s which is established through
shadow of top-heavy balconied
façades, dirty plaster frontages its images and characters.
embossed with scrollwork and
heraldic devices. The whole district
is like this: street leading into
street of houses like shabby
monumental safes crammed with
the tarnished valuables and second-
hand furniture of a bankrupt
middle class. I am a camera with
its shutter open, quite passive, Alan Cumming reading the first part of "Goodbye to
Berlin" from Christopher Isherwood's actual
recording, not thinking. bedroom at that time. Taken from the BBC
documentary "The real Cabaret“.
Lukács’ sense of aesthetics defines a text (either literary or not) as
realist when it represents society or a social event as a whole
coherent system from characters and typical action.
There was a little domestic argument, because Herr Bernstein didn't want his
wife to go shopping in the car that afternoon. During the last few days, there
has been a lot of Nazi rioting in the city.
"You can go in the tram, said Herr Bernstein. "I will not have them throwing
stones at my beautiful car. ”
" nd suppose they throw stones at me?" asked Frau Bernstein good-
" ch, what does that matter? If they throw stones at you, I will buy you a
sticking-plaster for your head. It will cost me only five groschen. But if they
throw stones at my car, it will cost me perhaps five hundred marks.
The fundamental idea of novels derives from Hegel’s theory of
history according to which, in modern society, the union between
conscience and world (subject – object) has disappeared due to the
alienation of the individual;.
As soon as I'd got dressed, I went down into the street. Sure enough, there was
a crowd outside the branch bank on the Nollendorfplatz corner, (…) Most of the
people were staring intently and rather stupidly at the locked door. In the
middle of the door was fixed a small notice, beautifully printed in Gothic type,
like a page from a classic author. The notice said that the Reichspresident had
guaranteed the deposits. Everything was quite all right. Only the bank wasn't
going to open.
Lucien Goldmann developed his ideas about novels using as a
basis Lukács’ theory and Marx’s critic of politic economy.
According to the last one, the essential feature of capitalist society
is the fact of being ruled by the exchange-value. The exchange-
value has the use-value (or authentic-value) as its semantic
opposite. There’s a three-party relationship established between
man, world and value.
Lukács’ heroes emerge from a degraded cultural reality whose
crisis of values is produced by the contradictions between
Liberalism and Clericalism, Capitalism and
Socialism, Christianity and Atheism, and so forth.
“Money” from the cabaret motion picture
According to Goldmann, in real life and in the novel as well, the
authentic values are implicit, since they’re not easily perceptible.
The last day or two, I've been sort of feeling what it would be like to be a
mother. Do you know, last night, I sat here for a long time by myself and held
this cushion in my arms and imagined it was my baby? And I felt a most
marvelous sort of shut-off feeling from all the rest of the world. I imagined
how it'd grow up and how I'd work for it, and how, after I'd put it to bed at
nights, I'd go out and make love to filthy old men to get money to pay for its
food and clothes...
Social criticism of novels, as conceived by Duchet, is sociology of
the literary text which highlights the importance of its origin and
social value. It unveils all sort of social discourses that conforms
the novel: sociograms, ideologems, images and ideologies in order
to recognize the society in which it was born.
Social aspects are not reflected in the piece but reproduced,
therefore, the gold rule of social criticism is that the researcher
mustn’t add or subtract anything to the text.
Christopher Isherwood’s writing style permits an inside look at the
social context through the situations and dialogues described in
Goodbye to Berlin.
Although there are many passages in the book that are related to
real events that are not very well stated by the author, the social
critical approaches to literature allow the reader to make an
inductive construction of the social context parting from
Objectivity of the writer is partially achieved within the “I am a
camera” logic though he is the narrator and a character as well.
DUCHET, Claude (1971). Pour une sociocritique ou variations sur un Incipit
EN: Litterature.. París: Larousse.
FOSSE, Bob (1977). Cabaret. ABC Pictures
GOLDMANN, Lucien (1964). Para una sociología de la novela. Madrid:
GUZMÁN, José Manuel (2008). Panorama de las teorías sociológicas de la
novela IN Cultura y representaciones sociales Year:3, Number:5.
ISHERWOOD, Christopher (1977). Goodbye to Berlin. Washington: Hunter
LUKÁCS, Gyorgy (1920). La teoría de la novela. Buenos Aires: Siglo XX.