Alfred Döblin, one of the great figures of German modernism, was born in 1878 to a Jewish family. He moved to Berlin at the age of ten, where he remained for the next 45 years. Döblin's 1929 masterpiece Berlin Alexanderplatz made him famous, but he was forced to flee to France and then Los Angeles during the years of the Nazi dictatorship. He died in 1957. Michael Hofmann is a poet and translator from the German. For Penguin he has translated four books by Hans Fallada, in addition to works by Franz Kafka, Ernst Jünger, Irmgard Keun and Jakob Wassermann.
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