Franz Hessel, "I Choose 'Cheese'" (1920s)
Franz Hessel (1880-1941) was an editor and translator at Rowohlt Verlag, and published feuilleton pieces in the periodical Literarische Welt and elsewhere. He styled himself as a Berlin version of the Parisian flâneur, a sophisticated rambler whose daily encounters with the city were opportunities for the observation of modern urban life. In this piece, he blends in among a group of tourists and laments what is lacking in their superficial exposure to the city. Although they may catch glimpses of important sites and perhaps get a sense of its history, the emphasis of the tour is on contemporary, cosmopolitan Berlin where people mingle in locales like the "Café Vaterland" on the famous Potsdamer Platz.