Sunday, July 12, 2020


Georg Miermann, editor, and Emil Gohlisch, reporter, talk shop:

Gabriele Tergit, Käsebier Takes Berlin. 1932. Trans. from the German by Sophie Duvernoy (New York: New York Review Books, 2019).

I suspect this exchange might be a joke on the journalistic habit of recycling a familiar premise: it appears that Herr Andor has recycled the premise of the wonderful film Menschen am Sonntag [People on Sunday] (dir. Robert Siodmark and Edgar G. Ulmer, 1930). Herr Andor has also written, more than once, about “The Last Horse-Cart Driver.” Recall in our time continued media attention to shoe and typewriter repairpersons.

Käsebier Takes Berlin is yet another NYRB rediscovery. It’s a sharp satire of fad as culture in Weimar Germany, with an unremarkable singer named Käsebier becoming the inspiration for everything from fountain pens to a Weimar version of Hudson Yards.

A related post
People on Sunday

[The exchange between Miermann and Gohlisch takes place in 1929. Menschen am Sonntag was released on February 4, 1930. So the chronology is off. But I still think it likely that Tergit, writing in 1931, was making a joke on the film and that a reader in 1932 would have taken Andor’s story as inspired by Menschen am Sonntag. A Borgesian possibility: Siodmark and Ulmer got hold of the fictional Andor’s unpublished story and took it as the inspiration for their film.]

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