Quotations From ALFRED DÖBLIN

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  • 1.
    Writing is not chewing your nails and picking your teeth, but a matter of public interest.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by David Dollenmayer. "To Novelists and Their Critics: Berlin Program," May 1913, Works on Aesthetics, Poetics and Literature, ed. Erich Kleinschmidt (1989).
  • 2.
    One encounters very capable fathers abashed by their piano-playing daughters. Three measures of Schumann make them red with embarrassment.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by David Dollenmayer. "The Spirit of the Naturalistic Age," 1924, Works on Aesthetics, Poetics and Literature, ed. Erich Kleinschmidt (1989).

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  • 3.
    You had to have seen the corpses lying there in front of the school—the men with their caps covering their faces—to know the meaning of class hatred and the spirit of revenge.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by David Dollenmayer. "First Glance Back," 1928, Autobiographical Writings, ed. Erich Kleinschmidt (1986). On the government's bloody suppression of a workers' uprising in Berlin, March 1919.

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  • 4.
    Much unhappiness comes from walking alone. When there are several, it's somewhat different. I must get into the habit of listening to others, for what the others say concerns me, too.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by David Dollenmayer. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 9 (1929).

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  • 5.
    So I will not go on shouting as once I did: Fate, Fate! It's no use revering it merely as Fate, we must look at it, grasp it, and destroy it.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by Eugene Jolas. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 9 (1929).

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  • 6.
    The German Reich is a Republic, and whoever doesn't believe it gets one in the neck.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by Eugene Jolas. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 6 (1929).

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  • 7.
    The world is made of sugar and dirt.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by David Dollenmayer. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 9 (1929).

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  • 8.
    Now the twitching stops. Now you are still. We are through with physiology and theology, physics begins.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by Eugene Jolas. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 4 (1929).
  • 9.
    And if you ask again whether there is any justice in the world, you'll have to be satisfied with the reply: Not for the time being; at any rate, not up to this Friday.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by Eugene Jolas. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 6 (1929).

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  • 10.
    But the main things about a man are his eyes and his feet. He should be able to see the world and go after it.
    Alfred Döblin (1878-1957), German-Jewish novelist, physician. Trans. by Eugene Jolas. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, bk. 1 (1929).

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