A timeless guide to one of the world's greatest cities. Franz Hessel was an observer par excellence of the increasingly hectic metropolis that was Berlin in the late 1920s. In Walking in Berlin, originally published in Germany in 1929, he captures the rhythm of Weimar-era Berlin, recording evidence of the seismic shifts shaking German culture at the time. Nearly all of the pieces take the form of a walk or outing, focusing either on a theme or part of the city, and many end at a theatre, cinema, or club. Hessel effortlessly weaves historical information into his observations, displaying his extensive knowledge of the city. Today, many years after the Nazi era and the postwar reconstruction that followed, the areas he visited are all still prominent and interesting. From the Alexanderplatz to Kreuzberg, his record of them has become priceless. Superbly written, and as fresh today as when it first appeared, this is a book to be savoured.
Franz Hessel was born in 1880 to a Jewish banking family, and grew up in Berlin. After studying in Munich, he lived in Paris, moving in artistic circles in both cities. He co-translated Proust with Walter Benjamin, as well as works by Casanova, Stendhal, and Balzac. His relationship with the fashion journalist Helen Grund was the inspiration for Henri-Pierre Roche's novel and, later, Francois Truffaut's film Jules et Jim. Their son Stephane went on to become a diplomat and author of the worldwide bestselling Indignez-Vous! (Time for Outrage!). He also co-translated Proust with Walter Benjamin, as well as works by Casanova, Stendhal, and Balzac. Franz Hessel died in early 1941, shortly after his release from an internment camp. Amanda DeMarco, is an editor, translator, and the founder of Readux Books. Originally from Chicago, she is currently based in Berlin.