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Fabian oder der Gang vor die Hunde

From Erich Kästner

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Date & Time

Friday, 22. December 202319:30 Uhr

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Nightclubs, dance halls and pubs. Garish lights, art studios and brothels. The Berlin of the late Roaring Twenties is disreputable, eccentric and erotic - the traditional gender roles are abolished. But in addition to lust for life, intoxication and escapism, it is at the same time marked by reality: world economic crisis, mass unemployment and political radicalization. The horrors of the First World War have only just been digested, when one already has to fear for the future.

Jakob Fabian, who holds a doctorate in German studies, hires himself out as a copywriter for a cigarette brand during the day and roams the colorful hustle and bustle of the big city at night. He, too, is looking for distraction, anesthesia and affection. As a moralist - as he calls himself - he observes his surroundings with an ironic distance... and persists in his melancholy. After a series of strokes of fate, however, Fabian's position as an observer begins to crumble: He loses his job. And his longing for love is disappointed when his girlfriend Cornelia Battenberg decides to pursue her career. His friend Labude takes his own life when he learns that his habilitation thesis has allegedly been rejected. Fabian - devastated - nevertheless makes every effort to remain true to his moral values, but cannot stand up to his own ideals.

What value does the individual have in a system that is primarily designed for exploitation? If you want to get ahead, you have to prostitute yourself. And always reckon with being dumped by the other person for a better match. Erich Kästner had to publish his clear-sighted novel in 1931 in a censored version, which nevertheless fell victim to the Nazi book burnings - before the eyes of the horrified author. In 2013, Kästner's intended version appeared, which offers an even more explicit explosive force.

Translated with (free version)