Fabian: The Story of a Moralist

Overview

Originally published in German in 1931 and in an expurgated English translation in 1932, this novel is the tale of Jacob Fabian, a Berlin advertising copywriter doomed in the context of economic, ethical, and political collapse by his characteristic mixture of detachment and decency. Fabian is a middle-of-the-road liberal, an Enlightenment rationalist, a believer that the public condition reflects prevailing private moralities, and a skeptic toward all ideological nostrums. Richly detailed and vividly plotted, ...
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Overview

Originally published in German in 1931 and in an expurgated English translation in 1932, this novel is the tale of Jacob Fabian, a Berlin advertising copywriter doomed in the context of economic, ethical, and political collapse by his characteristic mixture of detachment and decency. Fabian is a middle-of-the-road liberal, an Enlightenment rationalist, a believer that the public condition reflects prevailing private moralities, and a skeptic toward all ideological nostrums. Richly detailed and vividly plotted, Fabian remains an unparalleled personalization of the collapse of the Weimar Republic. This new edition restores the deleted sections considered too explicit for the original publication. It also includes Kastner's epilogue, which had been rejected by the original publisher, the preface added by the author to the 1952 German reissue, and an informative foreword by the scholar Rodney Livingstone.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This new edition of the English translation of Kastner's 1931 novel restores the erotic elements prudishly omitted in its 1932 publication. Fabian, an advertising copywriter who loses his job in early 1930s Berlin, visits tawdry sex establishments; he is propositioned by a woman whose husband has the right of approval over her choice of lovers; and he accompanies his friend Labude to a dance hall where women shimmy about in bathing suits. Fabian's exploits are always amusing and include a trip to the Anonymous Cabaret, where patrons throw sugar cubes at the performers. Eventually Fabian falls in love with an apprentice lawyer named Cornelia, but a sense of doom hangs over the character, and he loses her when she is offered a part in a movie. Although the translation is sometimes stilted--characters often say ``shall'' rather than ``will,'' for example--Kastner (1899-1974) had a message to convey about the crumbling of Berlin's moral standards, and he delivered it successfully. Livingstone's foreword delineates the period's political situation, but it is Fabian himself who explains things best when he comments ironically, ``We live in stirring times . . . and they get more stirring every day.'' (Dec.)
Library Journal
Kastner's 1931 novel concerns Berlin copywriter Jacob Fabian, whose world collapses around him in this personalized portrait of the fall of the Weimar Republic. This edition contains text excised from the original German printing, which was singled out and burned by the Nazis. The author, luckily, escaped the same fate but was barred from publishing until after the war. A strong consideration for foreign literature collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810111370
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/1993
  • Series: European Classics Ser.
  • Pages: 177
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.55 (d)

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