December 18, 2012
Abstract: This article explores the complex origins of the literary figure ‘Berliner Eckensteher’ around 1830. It analyses the sources of this figure in European visual and textual culture, its literary transformations and its different meanings. On the one hand, these figures were conceived as typical ‘biedermeierlich’, that is, as conforming to the social order, as drunken, dumb and harmless. On the other hand, and typical ‘vormärzlich’, they stood also for subversive protest against social repression and increasingly for the fight against reactionary politics. But: did Berlin ‘Eckensteher’ ever actually exist?