translatingberlin tnOn Tuesday 16th November, four A Level German students participated in the ‘Translating Berlin’ workshop in Oxford, at the University's Bodleian Library. The workshop, led by Stefano Evangelista and Charlotte Ryland, covered 1920s Berlin, primarily through the works of celebrated writer Steven Spender, a former student at the University.

Lydia shares her experience of this fascinating workshop with us:

‘Following his death in the 1980s, Spender had left a vast collection of his work to the library, which we were able to look at and discuss. Using these archives, we considered life in Berlin and how its underground scene influenced the city's portrayal in the international community. Spender's letters to Vita Sackville-West, Virgina Wolf's lover, and those he received from Christopher Isherwood, allowed us to delve deeper into daily life in Berlin, as well as understand what working with archives could entail. Presented with the illustrated cover of the travel book, Ein Führer durch das lasterhafte Berlin, we were encouraged to discuss the audience and subject matter that it addressed. In translating an extract from this book, we were introduced to the idea of the ‘unofficial’, but more engrossing, side of tourism in 1920s Berlin, which targeted young, wealthy men in particular. The workshop was both interesting and engaging, offering a great insight into how areas of literature, politics and media can be woven into the study of a modern language at university.’