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Selected Essays and Addresses, 1906-1927
The Austrian writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) was one of the great modernists in the German language, but his importance as a major intellectual of the early twentieth century has not received adequate attention in the English-speaking world. One distinguished literary scholar of his generation called Hofmannsthal a “spiritual-moral authority” of a kind German culture had only rarely produced. This volume provides translations of essays that deal with the Austrian idea and with the distinctive position of German-speaking Austrians between German nationalism and peoples to the East, whether in the Habsburg Monarchy or beyond it, as well as essays that locate Hofmannsthal’s thinking about Austria in relation to the broader situation of German and European culture. “It is the true accomplishment of this translation that Hofmannsthal’s language, recreated in a clear and elegant English, regains its melody of an earlier time. If there ever was a captivating documentation of the European potential of Austria beyond the stereotypes of “Vienna at 1900,” it has been brought together in this volume of essays that responded to the tragic challenges of World War I in a constructive way.” Frank Trommler, University of Pennsylvania
Race, Sex, and Citizenship in the New Germany
In this compelling study, Damani J. Partridge explores citizenship and exclusion in Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That event seemed to usher in a new era of universal freedom, but post-reunification transformations of German society have in fact produced noncitizens: non-white and "foreign" Germans who are simultaneously portrayed as part of the nation and excluded from full citizenship. Partridge considers the situation of Vietnamese guest workers "left behind" in the former East Germany; images of hypersexualized black bodies reproduced in popular culture and intimate relationships; and debates about the use of the headscarf by Muslim students and teachers. In these and other cases, which regularly provoke violence against those perceived to be different, he shows that German national and European projects are complicit in the production of distinctly European noncitizens.
Literature and the Architecture of the Referent
The placein the title of Claudia Brodsky's remarkable new book is the intersection of language with building, the marking, for future reference, of material constructions in the world. The referentBrodsky describes is not something first found in nature and then named but a thing whose own origin joins language with materiality, a thing marked as it is made to begin with. In the Place of Language: Literature and the Architecture of the Referent develops a theory of the referentthat is thus also a theory of the possibility of historical knowledge, one that undermines the conventional opposition of language to the real by theories of nominalism and materialism alike, no less than it confronts the mystical conflation of language with matter, whether under the aegis of the infinite reproducibility of the image or the identification of language with Being.Challenging these equally naive views of language - as essentially immaterial or the only essential matter - Brodsky investigates the interaction of language with the material that literature represents. For literature, Brodsky argues, seeks no refuge from its own inherently iterable, discursive medium in dreams of a technologically-induced freedom from history or an ontological history of language-being. Instead it tells the complex story of historical referents constructed and forgotten, things built into the earth upon which history takes placeand of which, in the course of history, all visible trace is temporarily effaced. Literature represents the making of history, the building and burial of the referent, the present world of its oblivion and the future of its unearthing, and it can do this because, unlike the historical referent, it literally takes no place, is not tied to any building or performance in space. For the same reason literature can reveal the historical nature of the making of meaning, demonstrating that the shaping and experience of the real, the marking of matter that constitutes historical referents, also defers knowledge of the real to a later date. Through close readings of central texts by Goethe, Plato, Kant, Heidegger, and Benjamin, redefined by the interrelationship of building and language they represent, In the Place of Language analyzes what remains of actions that attempt to take the place of language: the enduring, if intermittently obscured bases, of theoretical reflection itself.
Essays on European Culture, Germans, and Jews
The nineteenth- and twentieth-century relationship between European culture, German history, and the Jewish experience produced some of the West’s most powerful and enduring intellectual creations—and, perhaps in subtly paradoxical and interrelated ways, our century’s darkest genocidal moments. In Times of Crisis explores the flashpoints of this vexed relationship, mapping the coordinates of a complex triangular encounter of immense historical import.
In essays that range from the question of Nietzsche’s legacy to the controversy over Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, the distinguished historian Steven E. Aschheim presents this encounter as an ongoing dialogue between two evolving cultural identities. He touches on past dimensions of this exchange (such as the politics of Weimar Germany) and on present dilemmas of grasping and representing it (such as the Israeli discourse on the Holocaust). His work inevitably traces the roots and ramifications of Nazism but at the same time brings into focus historical circumstances and contemporary issues often overshadowed or distorted by the Holocaust.
These essays reveal the ubiquitous charged inscriptions of Nazi genocide within our own culture and illuminate the projects of some later thinkers and historians—from Hannah Arendt to George Mosse to Saul Friedlander—who have wrestled with its problematics and sought to capture its essence. From the broadly historical to the personal, from the politics of Weimar Germany to the experience of growing up German Jewish in South Africa, the essays expand our understanding of German Jewish history in particular, but also of historical processes in general.
Jews, Gender, and America in Recent German Literature
Ethics through Twentieth-Century German Literature, Thought, and Film
In Inconceivable Effects, Martin Blumenthal-Barby reads theoretical, literary and cinematic works that appear noteworthy for the ethical questions they raise. Via critical analysis of writers and filmmakers whose projects have changed our ways of viewing the modern world-including Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, the directors of Germany in Autumn, and Heiner Mueller-these essays furnish a cultural base for contemporary discussions of totalitarian domination, lying and politics, the relation between law and body, the relation between law and justice, the question of violence, and our ways of conceptualizing "the human."
A consideration of ethics is central to the book, but ethics in a general, philosophical sense is not the primary subject here; instead, Blumenthal-Barby suggests that whatever understanding of the ethical one has is always contingent upon a particular mode of presentation (Darstellung), on particular aesthetic qualities and features of media. Whatever there is to be said about ethics, it is always bound to certain forms of saying, certain ways of telling, certain modes of narration. That modes of presentation differ across genres and media goes without saying; that such differences are intimately linked with the question of the ethical emerges with heightened urgency in this book.
Musical Politics and the Berlin Jewish Culture League
Offers a clear introduction to a fascinating, yet little known, phenomenon in Nazi Germany, whose very existence will be a surprise to the general public and to historians. Easily blending general history with musicology, the book provides provocative yet compelling analysis of complex issues. ---Michael Meyer, author of The Politics of Music in the Third Reich "Hirsch poses complex questions about Jewish identity and Jewish music, and she situates these against a political background vexed by the impossibility of truly viable responses to such questions. Her thorough archival research is complemented by her extensive use of interviews, which gives voice to those swept up in the Holocaust. A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany is a book filled with the stories of real lives, a collective biography in modern music history that must no longer remain in silence." ---Philip V. Bohlman, author of Jewish Music and Modernity "An engaging and downright gripping history. The project is original, the research is outstanding, and the presentation lucid." ---Karen Painter, author of Symphonic Aspirations: German Music and Politics, 1900-1945 The Jewish Culture League was created in Berlin in June 1933, the only organization in Nazi Germany in which Jews were not only allowed but encouraged to participate in music, both as performers and as audience members. Lily E. Hirsch's A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany is the first book to seriously investigate and parse the complicated questions the existence of this unique organization raised, such as why the Nazis would promote Jewish music when, in the rest of Germany, it was banned. The government's insistence that the League perform only Jewish music also presented the organization's leaders and membership with perplexing conundrums: what exactly is Jewish music? Who qualifies as a Jewish composer? And, if it is true that the Nazis conceived of the League as a propaganda tool, did Jewish participation in its activities amount to collaboration? Lily E. Hirsch is Assistant Professor of Music at Cleveland State University.
In this book Rose illuminates the extraordinary creativity of Jewish intellectuals as they reevaluated Judaism with the tools of a German philosophical tradition fast emerging as central to modern intellectual life. While previous work emphasizes the “subversive” dimensions of German-Jewish thought or the “inner antisemitism” of the German philosophical tradition, Rose shows convincingly the tremendous resources German philosophy offered contemporary Jews for thinking about the place of Jews in the wider polity. Offering a fundamental reevaluation of seminal figures and key texts, Rose emphasizes the productive encounter between Jewish intellectuals and German philosophy. He brings to light both the complexity and the ambivalence of reflecting on Jewish identity and politics from within a German tradition that invested tremendous faith in the political efficacy of philosophical thought itself.
Between History and Faith
German Jews were fully assimilated and secularized in the nineteenth century—or so it is commonly assumed. In Jewish Scholarship and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, Nils Roemer challenges this assumption, finding that religious sentiments, concepts, and rhetoric found expression through a newly emerging theological historicism at the center of modern German Jewish culture.
Modern German Jewish identity developed during the struggle for emancipation, debates about religious and cultural renewal, and battles against anti-Semitism. A key component of this identity was historical memory, which Jewish scholars had begun to infuse with theological perspectives beginning in the 1850s. After German reunification in the early 1870s, Jewish intellectuals reevaluated their enthusiastic embrace of liberalism and secularism. Without abandoning the ideal of tolerance, they asserted a right to cultural religious difference for themselves--an ideal they held to even more tightly in the face of growing anti-Semitism. This newly re-theologized Jewish history, Roemer argues, helped German Jews fend off anti-Semitic attacks by strengthening their own sense of their culture and tradition.
Roots of Prejudice in Modern Germany
Scholarly, objective, insightful, and analytical, Jews, Turks, and Other Strangers studies the causes of prejudice against Jews, foreign workers, refugees, and emigrant Germans in contemporary Germany. Using survey material and quantitative analyses, Legge convincingly challenges the notion that German xenophobia is rooted in economic causes. Instead, he sees a more complex foundation for German prejudice, particularly in a reunified Germany where perceptions of the "other" sometimes vary widely between east and west, a product of a traditional racism rooted in the German past. By clarifying the foundations of xenophobia in a new German state, Legge offers a clear and disturbing picture of a conflicted country and a prejudice that not only affects Jews but also fuels a larger, anti-foreign sentiment.