1913: The Year before the Storm

Author(s): Florian Illies

History

A witty yet moving narrative worked up from sketched biographical fragments, 1913 is an intimate vision of a world that is about to change forever. The stuffy conventions of the nineteenth century are receding into the past, and 1913 heralds a new age of unlimited possibility. Kafka falls in love; Louis Armstrong learns to play the trumpet; a young seamstress called Coco Chanel opens her first boutique; Charlie Chaplin signs his first movie contract; and new drugs like cocaine usher in an age of decadence. Yet everywhere there is the premonition of ruin - the number 13 is omnipresent, and in London, Paris and Vienna, artists take the omen and act as if there were no tomorrow. In a Munich hotel lobby, Rilke and Freud discuss beauty and transience; Proust sets out in search of lost time; and while Stravinsky celebrates the Rite of Spring with industrial cacophony, an Austrian postcard painter by the name of Adolf Hitler sells his conventional cityscapes.

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From James Joyce to Coco Chanel, 1913 is an irreverent but poignant portrait of Europe on the brink of war, now in paperback.

The best possible holiday read Irish Times A hugely enjoyable idiosyncratic month by month narrative, in which the frenzy of artistic activity in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Trieste is conveyed with vigour and humour Daily Telegraph A vivid, richly textured book that chronicles a world crackling with talent, energy and foreboding FT A brilliant game of original quotations and tracings Der Spiegel Illies shapes his material not as a scholar, but as a wordsmith, as a story-teller with a strong sense for dramatic effect and composition...the most enjoyable book I've read in years Die Welt Illies makes the hundred years between 1913 and his readers disappear. A beautiful book. Suddeutsche Zeitung Illies is as astute a researcher as he is an observer of the zeitgeist ... reads like something out of a magic realist novel. -- Philip Oltermann Guardian I couldn't stop reading - Illies' stories are simply magnificent -- Ferdinand von Schirach Thorough and fascinating Time Out An absolute gem of a book. His snapshot approach to the year, recorded month by month, is the most original historical account I've come across ... Illies's genius turn of phrase, beautifully retained by Shaun Whiteside and Jamie Lee Searle's elegant translation, can be found throughout ... The entries read like history's footnotes, but as anyone who's read Freud knows, the footnotes always tell the best story. -- Lucy Scholes Observer

Florian Illies was born in 1971. He has worked as literary editor for major German newspapers and magazines, and co-founded art magazine Monopol. His previous four books have sold over one million copies.

General Fields

  • : 9781846689611
  • : Profile Books Ltd
  • : Serpent's Tail
  • : May 2014
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Florian Illies
  • : 288
  • : English
  • : 814
  • : Paperback