Author(s): Erich Kastner
Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist is set in Berlin after the Wall Street crash of 1929 and before the Nazi takeover, years of relentlessly rising unemployment when major banks and companies were in collapse. The moralist in question is Jakob Fabian, "aged thirty-two, profession variable, at present advertising copywriter, 17 Schaperstrasse, weak heart, brown hair," a young man with an excellent education but, at least in the current economy, no prospects-permanently condemned, so far as anyone can see, to a low-paid job without security in the short or the long run. What's to be done? Fabian and friends make the best of it-they go to work every day even though they may be laid off at any time, and in the evenings they head out to the cabarets and try to make it with girls on the make-and all in all everyone makes, as the pages fly by, a lot of sharp-sighted and sharp-witted observations about politics, life, and love, or what may be. Not that it makes a difference. Workers keep losing work to new technologies while businessmen keep busy making money, and everyone who can goes out to dance clubs and sex clubs or engages in marathon bicycle events, since so long as there's hope of running into the right person or (even) doing the right thing, well-why stop?
ERICH KASTNER (1899-1974) was born in Dresden. His first book of poems was published in 1928, as was the children's book Emil and the Detectives, which quickly achieved worldwide fame. Going to the Dogs appeared in 1931 and was followed by many other works for adults and children, including Lottie and Lisa, the basis for the popular Disney film The Parent Trap. RODNEY LIVINGSTONE is a professor emeritus in German Studies at the University of Southampton. In 2009 he was awarded the Ungar German Translation Prize of the American Translators' Association for his translation of Detlev Claussen's Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius. CYRUS BROOKS was a writer of detective stories and a translator of other books by Kastner as well as by Alfred Neumann, Leonhard Frank, and others.