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Dueling

The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-Siecle Germany

Kevin McAleer

The question of what it takes "to be a man" comes under scrutiny in this sharp, often playful, cultural critique of the German duel--the deadliest type of one-on-one combat in fin-de-siécle Europe. At a time when dueling was generally restricted to swords or had been abolished altogether in other nations, the custom of fighting to the death with pistols flourished among Germany's upper-class males, who took perverse comfort in defying their country's weakly enforced laws. From initial provocation to final death agony, Kevin McAleer describes with ironic humor the complex protocol of the German duel, inviting his reader into the disturbing mindset of its practitioners and the society that valued this socially important but ultimately absurd pastime. Through a narrative that cannot restrain itself from poking fun at the egos and prejudices that come to the fore in the pursuit of "manliness," McAleer offers both an entertaining and thought-provoking portrait of a cultural phenomenon that had far-reaching effects.

The author employs a wealth of anecdotes to re-create the dueling event in all its variety, from the level of insult--which could range from loudly ridiculing a man's choice of entrée in an upscale restaurant to, more commonly, bedding his wife--to such intricacies as the time and place of the duel, the guest list, the selection of weapons and number of paces, dress options, and the decision regarding when to let the attending physician set up his instruments on the field. As he exposes the reader to the fierce mentality behind these proceedings, McAleer describes the duel as a litmus test of courage, the masculine apotheosis, which led its male practitioners to lay claim to both psychic and legal entitlements in Wilhelmine society. The aristocratic nature of the duel, with its feudal ethos of chivalry, gave its upper-middle-class practitioners even more opportunity to distinguish themselves from the underclasses and other marginalized groups--such as Socialists, Jews, left-liberals, Catholics, and pacifists, who, for various reasons, were stigmatized as incapable of "giving satisfaction." The duel, according to McAleer, was thus a social mirror, and the dueling issue political dynamite.

Throughout these accounts, the author sustains a personal voice to convey the horror and fascination of what at first appears to be simply a curious fringe activity, but which he goes on to reveal as an integral element of German society's consciousness in the late nineteenth century. In so doing, he strengthens the argument that Germany followed a path of development separate from the rest of Europe, leading to World War I and ultimately to Hitler and the Nazis.

Originally published in 1997.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Ecumenism, Memory, and German Nationalism, 1817-1917

by Stan M. Landry

Explores the relationship among the German confessional divide, collective memories of religion, and the construction of German national identity and difference. It argues that nineteenth-century proponents of church unity used and abused memories of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation to espouse German religious unity, which would then serve as a catalyst for German national unification.

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Elites Against Democracy: Leadership Ideals in Bourgeois Political Thought in Germany, 1890-1933

Walter Struve

Since the beginning of the current era of imperialism in the late nineteenth century, there has been a striking contrast between bourgeois political thought in Germany and the West. Walter Struve demonstrates how German political culture went through a phase in which great emphasis was placed on the establishment of a new political elite recruited on the basis of merit and skill, but ruling in an authoritarian way, and not controlled by the populace. He suggests that this type of elitism, many aspects of which were vital to the political culture of Nazi Germany, seems today to be widespread in the West.

The development of this concept of an open-yet-authoritarian elite is approached through the analysis of the political ideas and activities of nine elitists, among them Max Weber, Walther Rathenau, and Oswald Spengler. The author relates biography to intellectual, political, social, and economic history, so that his work becomes a study in the political and social context of intellectual history.

Originally published in 1973.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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An Emotional State

The Politics of Emotion in Postwar West German Culture

Anna M. Parkinson

This literary-historical study seeks to dismantle the prevailing notion that Germany, in the period following the Second World War, exhibited an “inability to mourn,” arguing that in fact the period experienced a surge of affect. Anna Parkinson examines the emotions explicitly manifested or addressed in a variety of German cultural artifacts, while also identifying previously unacknowledged (and under-theorized) affective structures implicitly at work during the country’s national crisis. Much of the scholarship in the expanding field of affect theory distrusts Freudian psychoanalysis, which does not differentiate between emotion and affect.

One of the book’s major contributions is that it offers an analytical distinction between emotion and affect, finding a compelling way to talk about affect and emotion that is informed by affect theory but that integrates psychoanalysis. The study draws on the psychoanalytic writings of Freud, Margarete and Alexander Mitscherlich, and André Green, while engaging with interdisciplinary theorists of affect including Barbara Rosenwein, Lauren Berlant, Ann Cvetkovich, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, among many others.

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Enemies to Allies

Cold War Germany and American Memory

Brian C. Etheridge

At the close of World War II, the United States went from being allied with the Soviet Union against Germany to alignment with the Germans against the Soviet Union -- almost overnight. While many Americans came to perceive the German people as democrats standing firm with their Western allies on the front lines of the Cold War, others were wary of a renewed Third Reich and viewed all Germans as nascent Nazis bent on world domination. These adversarial perspectives added measurably to the atmosphere of fear and distrust that defined the Cold War.

In Enemies to Allies, Brian C. Etheridge examines more than one hundred years of American interpretations and representations of Germany. With a particular focus on the postwar period, he demonstrates how a wide array of actors -- including special interest groups and US and West German policymakers -- employed powerful narratives to influence public opinion and achieve their foreign policy objectives. Etheridge also analyses bestselling books, popular television shows such as Hogan's Heroes, and award-winning movies such as Schindler's List to reveal how narratives about the Third Reich and Cold War Germany were manufactured, contested, and co-opted as rival viewpoints competed for legitimacy.

From the Holocaust to the Berlin Wall, Etheridge explores the contingent nature of some of the most potent moral symbols and images of the second half of the twentieth century. This groundbreaking study draws from theories of public memory and public diplomacy to demonstrate how conflicting US accounts of German history serve as a window for understanding not only American identity, but international relations and state power.

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Envisioning Socialism

Television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic

Heather Gumbert

Envisioning Socialism examines television and the power it exercised to define the East Germans’ view of socialism during the first decades of the German Democratic Republic. In the first book in English to examine this topic, Heather L. Gumbert traces how television became a medium prized for its communicative and entertainment value. She explores the difficulties GDR authorities had defining and executing a clear vision of the society they hoped to establish, and she explains how television helped to stabilize GDR society in a way that ultimately worked against the utopian vision the authorities thought they were cultivating. Gumbert challenges those who would dismiss East German television as a tool of repression that couldn’t compete with the West or capture the imagination of East Germans. Instead, she shows how, by the early 1960s, television was a model of the kind of socialist realist art that could appeal to authorities and audiences. Ultimately, this socialist vision was overcome by the challenges that the international market in media products and technologies posed to nation-building in the postwar period. A history of ideas and perceptions examining both real and mediated historical conditions, Envisioning Socialism considers television as a technology, an institution, and a medium of social relations and cultural knowledge. The book will be welcomed in undergraduate and graduate courses in German and media history, the history of postwar Socialism, and the history of science and technologies.

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Epic and Exile

Novels of the German Popular Front, 1933-1945

Hunter Bivens

The antifascist exile beginning in 1933 led to a cooling among the émigrés of the artistic and literary modernist experiments of the Weimar Republic and to a return to realism and the traditional novel form. Epic and Exile examines the Popular Front– oriented cultural initiatives of the 1930s less in terms of their political strategy than in their function as a cultural and literary program for the exiles, implying a specific relationship to questions of artistic form, historical conceptions, and indeed the political as such. A popular front aesthetics is, Bivens argues, realist and modernist at once, and, in its focus on the opacities and contradictions of everyday life as a historical formation, it is particularly concerned with problems of the epic form.

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Ernst Cassirer

The Last Philosopher of Culture

Edward Skidelsky

This is the first English-language intellectual biography of the German-Jewish philosopher Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945), a leading figure on the Weimar intellectual scene and one of the last and finest representatives of the liberal-idealist tradition. Edward Skidelsky traces the development of Cassirer's thought in its historical and intellectual setting. He presents Cassirer, the author of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, as a defender of the liberal ideal of culture in an increasingly fragmented world, and as someone who grappled with the opposing forces of scientific positivism and romantic vitalism. Cassirer's work can be seen, Skidelsky argues, as offering a potential resolution to the ongoing conflict between the "two cultures" of science and the humanities--and between the analytic and continental traditions in philosophy. The first comprehensive study of Cassirer in English in two decades, this book will be of great interest to analytic and continental philosophers, intellectual historians, political and cultural theorists, and historians of twentieth-century Germany.

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Essays on Hitler's Europe

Istvan Deak

István Deák is one of the world's most knowledgeable and clearheaded authorities on the Second World War, and for decades his commentary has been among the most illuminating and influential contributions to the vast discourse on the politics, history, and scholarship of the period. Writing chiefly for the New York Review of Books and the New Republic, Deák has crafted review essays that cover the breadth and depth of the huge literature on this ominous moment in European history when the survival of democracy and human decency were at stake.
 
Collected here for the first time, these articles chart changing reactions and analyses by the regimes and populations of Europe and reveal how postwar governments, historians, and ordinary citizens attempt to come to terms with—or to evade—the realities of the Holocaust, war, fascism, and resistance movements. They track the acts of scoundrels and the collusion of ordinary citizens in the so-called Final Solution but also show how others in authority and on the street heroically opposed the evil of the day. With its depth, conciseness, and interpretive power, this collection allows readers to consider more clearly and completely than ever before what has been said, how thought has shifted, and what we have learned about these momentous, world-changing events.

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Ethics and the Dynamic Observer Narrator

Reckoning with Past and Present in German Literature

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In Ethics and the Dynamic Observer Narrator: Reckoning with Past and Present in German Literature, Katra A. Byram proposes a new category—the dynamic observer form—to describe a narrative situation that emerges when stories about others become an avenue to negotiate a narrator’s own identity across past and present. Focusing on German-language fiction from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Byram demonstrates how the dynamic observer form highlights historical tensions and explores the nexus of history, identity, narrative, and ethics in the modern moment. Ethics and the Dynamic Observer Narrator contributes to scholarship on both narrative theory and the historical and cultural context of German and Austrian literary studies. Narrative theory, according to Byram, should understand this form to register complex interactions between history and narrative form. Byram also juxtaposes new readings of works by Textor, Storm, and Raabe from the nineteenth century with analyses of twentieth-century works by Grass, Handke, and Sebald, ultimately reframing our understanding of literary Vergangenheitsbewältigung, or the struggle to come to terms with the past. Overall, Byram shows that neither the problem of reckoning with the past nor the dynamic observer form is unique to Germany’s post-WWII era. Both are products of the dynamics of modern identity, surfacing whenever critical change separates what was from what is.

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