, Volume 82, Issue 4, pp 607–616 | Cite as

Chaotic Diversity and Secret Connection in Berlin Alexanderplatz: An Interpretation in the Light of Döblin's Philosophy of Existence

  • Sung-Hyun Jang


Döblin's philosophical essays suggest that he sees the world in terms of the tension between the chaotic diversity of single things and the hidden connection between them through the ubiquitous existence of the "Ur-Ich". This study attempts to show that this tension is reflected in the form as well as in the theme of his novel Berlin Alexanderplatz. In order to represent the diversity of the world, Döblin turns to a multilinear, montagelike structure which involves a multiplicity of narrative voices indicative of the contemporary intellectual tendency to deny the central organizing consciousness and anticipant of the post-structural denial of the sovereign, self-aware consciousness at the center of any composing act. On the other hand, Döblin hints at the existence of a secret connection between the disparate elements which make up the whole world, applying his theories of the "Ur-Ich" and of resonance in such a way that not only thematical similarity but also simple motional and phonetic associations provide connecting threads throughout the novel. This tension between discontinuity and connection is again interwoven in the theme of the novel in the form of the tension between the individual as "Stück der Welt" and as "Gegenstück der Welt".


Comparative Literature Historical Linguistic Thematical Similarity Single Thing Philosophical Essay 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung-Hyun Jang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GermanyKeimyung UniversitySouth Korea

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