Windows on Modern German Culture
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Introduction: Framing Attention
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Windows are odd things. The longer we look through them, the more they confront us with metaphysical mysteries and epistemological conundrums. The more we think about their frames, the less sure we become about how we are able to see and perceive in the first place. Though windows come in all shapes and sizes, their shared function is that...
1. Menzel’s Rear Window
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To be sure, what we see in this image is not a window in the strict sense but a set of French doors, propped open to allow light and air to enter a sparsely furnished interior. Both wings of the door are shrouded in white curtains. A gentle breeze has taken hold of one of the drapes, lifting it up slightly and blowing it smoothly into the room. ...
2. Richard Wagner and the Framing of Modern Empathy
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We have come to think of the bourgeois theater stage as a space separated from the audience by a proverbial fourth wall. Translated in 1760 into Ger-man by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Denis Diderot’s seminal treatise De la poésie dramatique advised playwrights and actors to carry out their respective activities as if no audience were present in front of the stage. ...
3. Early Cinema and the Windows of Empire
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In 1916 German immigrant and Harvard professor Hugo M�nsterberg asked the readers of his treatise The Photoplay to perform a brief thought experiment. Its purpose was to persuade highbrow intellectuals and academics to recognize the specificity of the filmic medium and its inherent artistic qualities. ...
4. Underground Visions
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The window of the moving railway train has often been discussed as a site at which we can locate a paradigmatic modernization of visual perception. Nineteenth-century railway travel, it has been argued, helped industrialize the viewing subject, causing the observer to incorporate motion and speed into the very process of seeing. ...
5. Windows 33/45
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In the early evening hours of January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler appeared at the window of his new office to present himself to a chanting crowd gathered in front of the Berlin Chancellery at Wilhelmstraße 78. Located on the second floor, the chancellor’s office had three windows, all overlooking Wilhelmplatz. ...
6. Fluxus Television
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No medium other than television has been more often discussed and experienced—from its very inception—as a window onto the world. On March 11,1963, the industrial city of Wuppertal witnessed the opening of a small exhibition that not only explored the metaphorical conception of television as a window but also irrevocably changed the course of postwar...
7. The Nation’s New Windows
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Throughout most of the Cold War era, Berlin—West and East—served as a display window for highly contested cultural, economic, and political attractions. Large state subsidies transformed the city’s western half into a showcase of cultural experimentation and cosmopolitan openness, a vibrating outpost whose function was to demonstrate the superiority of liberal...
Epilogue: “Berliner Fenster”
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For a number of years now, Berlin subway authorities have been successful in distracting passengers from the underground’s absence of distractions. Similar to what can be experienced in urban transport systems in other German cities such as Hamburg, Hanover, Leipzig, and Fürth, Berlin subway users today will find almost all of the capital’s 1,200...
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Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 39 halftones
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
Series Editor Byline: Stephen G. Nichols, Gerald Prince, and Wendy Steiner, Series Editors