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The Seduction of Culture in German History
Author: Wolf Lepenies
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691121311
Pages: 272
Year: 2009-01-10
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During the Allied bombing of Germany, Hitler was more distressed by the loss of cultural treasures than by the leveling of homes. Remarkably, his propagandists broadcast this fact, convinced that it would reveal not his callousness but his sensitivity: the destruction had failed to crush his artist's spirit. It is impossible to begin to make sense of this thinking without understanding what Wolf Lepenies calls The Seduction of Culture in German History. This fascinating and unusual book tells the story of an arguably catastrophic German habit--that of valuing cultural achievement above all else and envisioning it as a noble substitute for politics. Lepenies examines how this tendency has affected German history from the late eighteenth century to today. He argues that the German preference for art over politics is essential to understanding the peculiar nature of Nazism, including its aesthetic appeal to many Germans (and others) and the fact that Hitler and many in his circle were failed artists and intellectuals who seem to have practiced their politics as a substitute form of art. In a series of historical, intellectual, literary, and artistic vignettes told in an essayistic style full of compelling aphorisms, this wide-ranging book pays special attention to Goethe and Thomas Mann, and also contains brilliant discussions of such diverse figures as Novalis, Walt Whitman, Leo Strauss, and Allan Bloom. The Seduction of Culture in German History is concerned not only with Germany, but with how the German obsession with culture, sense of cultural superiority, and scorn of politics have affected its relations with other countries, France and the United States in particular.
The Seduction of Culture in German History
Author: Wolf Lepenies
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691121311
Pages: 272
Year: 2006-03-26
View: 199
Read: 540
During the Allied bombing of Germany, Hitler was more distressed by the loss of cultural treasures than by the leveling of homes. Remarkably, his propagandists broadcast this fact, convinced that it would reveal not his callousness but his sensitivity: the destruction had failed to crush his artist's spirit. It is impossible to begin to make sense of this thinking without understanding what Wolf Lepenies calls The Seduction of Culture in German History. This fascinating and unusual book tells the story of an arguably catastrophic German habit--that of valuing cultural achievement above all else and envisioning it as a noble substitute for politics. Lepenies examines how this tendency has affected German history from the late eighteenth century to today. He argues that the German preference for art over politics is essential to understanding the peculiar nature of Nazism, including its aesthetic appeal to many Germans (and others) and the fact that Hitler and many in his circle were failed artists and intellectuals who seem to have practiced their politics as a substitute form of art. In a series of historical, intellectual, literary, and artistic vignettes told in an essayistic style full of compelling aphorisms, this wide-ranging book pays special attention to Goethe and Thomas Mann, and also contains brilliant discussions of such diverse figures as Novalis, Walt Whitman, Leo Strauss, and Allan Bloom. The Seduction of Culture in German History is concerned not only with Germany, but with how the German obsession with culture, sense of cultural superiority, and scorn of politics have affected its relations with other countries, France and the United States in particular.
Einstein's German World
Author: Fritz Stern
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691074585
Pages: 352
Year: 2001
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A series of essays by the Columbia University professor emeritus and author of Dreams and Delusions: The Drama of German History explores Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century--a country that produced Einstein and many other great thinkers and could have dominated the century had it not succumbed to Nazism.
Spirit and System
Author: Dominic Boyer
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226068900
Pages: 323
Year: 2005-11-15
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Combining ethnography, history, and social theory, Dominic Boyer's Spirit and System exposes how the shifting fortunes and social perceptions of German intellectuals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries influenced Germans' conceptions of modernity and national culture. Boyer analyzes the creation and mediation of the social knowledge of "German-ness" from nineteenth-century university culture and its philosophies of history, to the media systems and redemptive public cultures of the Third Reich and the German Democratic Republic, to the present-day experiences of former East German journalists seeking to explain life in post-unification Germany. Throughout this study, Boyer reveals how dialectical knowledge of "German-ness"—that is, knowledge that emphasizes a cultural tension between an inner "spirit" and an external "system" of social life —is modeled unconsciously upon intellectuals' self-knowledge as it tracks their fluctuation between alienation and utopianism in their interpretations of nation and modernity.
Willing Seduction
Author: Barbara Kosta
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 0857456202
Pages: 208
Year: 2013-07-15
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Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 film The Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel) is among the best known films of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). A significant landmark as one of Germany’s first major sound films, it is known primarily for launching Marlene Dietrich into Hollywood stardom and for initiating the mythic pairing of the Austrian-born American director von Sternberg with the star performer Dietrich. This fascinating cultural history of The Blue Angel provides a new interpretive framework with which to approach this classic Weimar film and suggests that discourses on mass and high culture are integral to the film’s thematic and narrative structure. These discourses surface above all in the relationship between the two main characters, the cabaret entertainer Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich) and the high school teacher Immanuel Rath (one-time Oscar winner Emil Jannings). In addition to offering insight into some of the major debates that informed the Weimar Republic, this book demonstrates that similar issues continue to shape the contemporary cultural landscape of Germany. Barbara Kosta thus also looks at Dietrich as a contemporary cultural icon and at her symbolic value since German unification and at Lola Lola’s various “incarnations.”
Grand Illusion
Author: Karen Fiss
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226252019
Pages: 285
Year: 2009
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Franco-German cultural exchange reached its height at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, where the Third Reich worked to promote an illusion of friendship between the two countries. Through the prism of this decisive event, Grand Illusion examines the overlooked relationships among Nazi elites and French intellectuals. Their interaction, Karen Fiss argues, profoundly influenced cultural production and normalized aspects of fascist ideology in 1930s France, laying the groundwork for the country’s eventual collaboration with its German occupiers. Tracing related developments across fine arts, film, architecture, and mass pageantry, Fiss illuminates the role of National Socialist propaganda in the French decision to ignore Hitler’s war preparations and pursue an untenable policy of appeasement. France’s receptiveness toward Nazi culture, Fiss contends, was rooted in its troubled identity and deep-seated insecurities. With their government in crisis, French intellectuals from both the left and the right demanded a new national culture that could rival those of the totalitarian states. By examining how this cultural exchange shifted toward political collaboration, Grand Illusion casts new light on the power of art to influence history.
Weimar Germany
Author: Eric D. Weitz
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691184356
Pages:
Year: 2018-09-25
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Thoroughly up-to-date, skillfully written, and strikingly illustrated, Weimar Germany brings to life an era of unmatched creativity in the twentieth century—one whose influence and inspiration still resonate today. Eric Weitz has written the authoritative history that this fascinating and complex period deserves, and he illuminates the uniquely progressive achievements and even greater promise of the Weimar Republic. Weitz reveals how Germans rose from the turbulence and defeat of World War I and revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. He explores the period’s groundbreaking cultural creativity, from architecture and theater, to the new field of "sexology"—and presents richly detailed portraits of some of the Weimar’s greatest figures. Weimar Germany also shows that beneath this glossy veneer lay political turmoil that ultimately led to the demise of the republic and the rise of the radical Right. Yet for decades after, the Weimar period continued to powerfully influence contemporary art, urban design, and intellectual life—from Tokyo to Ankara, and Brasilia to New York. Featuring a new preface, this comprehensive and compelling book demonstrates why Weimar is an example of all that is liberating and all that can go wrong in a democracy.
The Longing for Myth in Germany
Author: George S. Williamson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226899454
Pages: 428
Year: 2004-07-01
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Since the dawn of Romanticism, artists and intellectuals in Germany have maintained an abiding interest in the gods and myths of antiquity while calling for a new mythology suitable to the modern age. In this study, George S. Williamson examines the factors that gave rise to this distinct and profound longing for myth. In doing so, he demonstrates the entanglement of aesthetic and philosophical ambitions in Germany with some of the major religious conflicts of the nineteenth century. Through readings of key intellectuals ranging from Herder and Schelling to Wagner and Nietzsche, Williamson highlights three crucial factors in the emergence of the German engagement with myth: the tradition of Philhellenist neohumanism, a critique of contemporary aesthetic and public life as dominated by private interests, and a rejection of the Bible by many Protestant scholars as the product of a foreign, "Oriental" culture. According to Williamson, the discourse on myth in Germany remained bound up with problems of Protestant theology and confessional conflict through the nineteenth century and beyond. A compelling adventure in intellectual history, this study uncovers the foundations of Germany's fascination with myth and its enduring cultural legacy.
Hitler
Author: Rainer Zitelmann
Publisher: Allison & Busby
ISBN:
Pages: 539
Year: 1999
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Presents convincing evidence that it was Hitler's political strategies and arguments, which built his unprecedented support among the German people.
The Jazz Republic
Author: Jonathan O Wipplinger
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 047205340X
Pages: 324
Year: 2017-04-14
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Reveals the wide-ranging influence of American jazz on German discussions of music, race, and culture in the early twentieth century
Fighting for the Soul of Germany
Author: Rebecca Ayako Bennette
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674064801
Pages: 368
Year: 2012-06-15
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Historians have long believed that Catholics were late and ambivalent supporters of the German nation. Rebecca Ayako Bennette’s bold new interpretation demonstrates definitively that from the beginning in 1871, when Wilhelm I was proclaimed Kaiser of a unified Germany, Catholics were actively promoting a German national identity for the new Reich.
Nazi Cinema as Enchantment
Author: Mary-Elizabeth O'Brien
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
ISBN: 1571133348
Pages: 294
Year: 2006
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Explores how entertainment cinema served everyday fascism in Nazi Germany.
Jazz, Rock, and Rebels
Author: Uta G. Poiger
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520211391
Pages: 333
Year: 2000
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"This significant contribution to German history pioneers a conceptually sophisticated approach to German-German relations. Poiger has much to say about the construction of both gender norms and masculine and feminine identities, and she has valuable insights into the role that notions of race played in defining and reformulating those identities and prescriptive behaviors in the German context. The book will become a 'must read' for German historians."--Heide Fehrenbach, author of Cinema in Democratizing Germany "Poiger breaks new ground in this history of the postwar Germanies. The book will serve as a model for all future studies of comparative German-German history."--Robert G. Moeller, author of Protecting Motherhood "Jazz, Rock, and Rebels exemplifies the exciting work currently emerging out of transnational analyses. [A] well-written and well-argued study."--Priscilla Wald, author of Constituting Americans
Artists Under Hitler
Author: Jonathan Petropoulos
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300210612
Pages: 424
Year: 2014-11-28
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“What are we to make of those cultural figures, many with significant international reputations, who tried to find accommodation with the Nazi regime?” Jonathan Petropoulos asks in this exploration of some of the most acute moral questions of the Third Reich. In his nuanced analysis of prominent German artists, architects, composers, film directors, painters, and writers who rejected exile, choosing instead to stay during Germany’s darkest period, Petropoulos shows how individuals variously dealt with the regime’s public opposition to modern art. His findings explode the myth that all modern artists were anti-Nazi and all Nazis anti-modernist. Artists Under Hitler closely examines cases of artists who failed in their attempts to find accommodation with the Nazi regime (Walter Gropius, Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde) as well as others whose desire for official acceptance was realized (Richard Strauss, Gustaf Gründgens, Leni Riefenstahl, Arno Breker, Albert Speer). Collectively these ten figures illuminate the complex cultural history of Nazi Germany, while individually they provide haunting portraits of people facing excruciating choices and grave moral questions.
Leni Riefenstahl
Author: Rainer Rother
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 0826470238
Pages: 288
Year: 2003-10-01
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Leni Riefenstahl, now aged 101, achieved fame as a dancer, actress photographer, and director, but her entire career is colored by her association with the Nazi party. This overt tension between the political meaning of her work for National Socialism and its essential aesthetic quality forms the basis of the compelling account. Appointed by Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl directed the Nazi propaganda film Triumph des Willens along with her bestknown work Olympia, a documentary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. By 1939 Riefenstahl was arguably the most famous women film director in the world; yet, after World War II, she was never again accepted as a filmmaker. Rainer Rother's book is a remarkable account of the fascinating life and work of Germany's most controversial photographer and filmmaker.