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Sacrifice in the Modern World

On the Particularity and Generality of Nazi Myth

David Pan

Publication Year: 2012

This is an extremely exciting manuscript—path-breaking, bold, and comprehensive—that could be received in the intellectual world as a major theoretical statement, while also representing an insightful treatment of a specific cultural historical moment (Nazi Germany) but also key intellectual lineages that surround it. There's a lot at stake here, in the big picture (the question of sacrifice and the interpretation of Germany) as well as in the many rich building blocks of the argument (the treatments of Kant, Nietzsche, Adorno, Bataille, Girard, etc.).

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: NUP


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The ideas in this book have developed over a long time and with the help and encouragement of many. I am grateful to Russell Berman, Andreas Huyssen, Paul Michael Lützeler, and Hans Dieter Zimmermann for their indispensable assistance in bringing my thoughts to fruition. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xi1

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pp. 3-12

When considered in terms of the notion of sacrifice, the modern world has been overshadowed by the experience of Nazism and the Holocaust, and these events have often been read as the climax in terms of which other examples of sacrifice gain urgency and historical significance. ...

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Chapter One - Violence and Culture: The Sublime from Kant to Adorno

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pp. 13-44

This book treats sacrifice as an aesthetic phenomenon that functions like works of art to the extent that specific sacrificial narratives and rituals are established and endure based on their ability to appeal to the subjects who make up their audience. The goal of this chapter is to demonstrate that this appeal is based on disinterested, ...

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Chapter Two -The Politics of Myth in the Nazi Period: Alfred Baeumler and Carl Einstein

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pp. 45-78

The approach to sacrifice in this book proceeds from the assumption that, while both can mediate the human relation to the world, myth can be distinguished from reason based on the former’s aesthetic functioning as opposed to the latter’s dependence on concepts. ...

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Chapter Three - Theories of Sacrifice in the Modern World: Georges Bataille, René Girard, and Walter Burkert

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pp. 79-112

The opening two chapters seek to demonstrate that sacrifice can be analyzed as part of an aesthetic process that defines the human relationship to nature. Adorno provides a strong argument for the validity of an aesthetic truth that might be opposed to a philosophical truth in providing insight about the world. ...

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Chapter Four - The Genealogy of Nazi Morality

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pp. 113-148

Walter Burkert contends that the origins of Greek tragedy lie in sacrifice and that the tragedy is consequently in its essence a structuring of our human relationship to the fact of death.1 This argument suggests that the key issue of sacrifice is not willful execution but the humanizing of death, and the opposite of sacrifice is not life, ...

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pp. 149-152

This book has argued that sacrifice structures the human relationship to violence. Key to this argument is the premise that human values cannot be established within a particular community without a set of supporting representations organized around a vision of sacrifice. To the extent that ethical values must translate into action in human society, ...


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pp. 153-162


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pp. 163-170

E-ISBN-13: 9780810166035
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810128163

Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1
Series Title: NUP
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OCLC Number: 830022963
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Sacrifice in the Modern World

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Subject Headings

  • Sacrifice -- Social aspects -- Germany -- History -- 20th century.
  • Violence -- Social aspects
  • Mythology -- Political aspects -- Germany -- History -- 20th century.
  • National socialism -- Moral and ethical aspects.
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