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Area and Ethnic Studies > German Studies

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In the Place of Language Cover

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In the Place of Language

Literature and the Architecture of the Referent

Claudia Brodsky

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.

In Times of Crisis Cover

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In Times of Crisis

Essays on European Culture, Germans, and Jews

Steven E. Aschheim

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.

The Inability to Love Cover

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The Inability to Love

Jews, Gender, and America in Recent German Literature

Agnes C. Mueller

The Inability to Love borrows its title from Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich’s 1967 landmark book The Inability to Mourn, which discussed German society’s lack of psychological reckoning with the Holocaust. Challenging that notion, Agnes Mueller turns to recently published works by prominent contemporary German, non-Jewish writers to examine whether there has been a thorough engagement with German history and memory. She focuses on literature that invokes Jews, Israel, and the Holocaust. Mueller’s aim is to shed light on pressing questions concerning German memories of the past, and on German images of Jews in Germany at a moment that s ideologically and historically fraught.


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Inconceivable Effects

Ethics through Twentieth-Century German Literature, Thought, and Film

by Martin Blumenthal-Barby

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.

Intimacy and Exclusion Cover

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Intimacy and Exclusion

Religious Politics in Pre-Revolutionary Baden

Dagmar Herzog

During the years leading up to the revolutions of 1848, liberal and conservative Germans engaged in a contest over the terms of the Enlightenment legacy and the meaning of Christianity--a contest that grew most intense in the Grand Duchy of Baden, where liberalism first became an influential political movement. Bringing insights drawn from Jewish and women's studies into German history, Dagmar Herzog demonstrates how centrally Christianity's problematic relationships to Judaism and to sexuality shaped liberal, conservative, and radical thought in the pre-revolutionary years. In particular, she reveals how often conflicts over the "politics of the personal," especially over sex and marriage, determined "larger" political matters, among them the relationship between church and state and the terms on which Jews were granted civic rights.

Herzog documents the rise of a politically sophisticated conservative Catholicism, and explores liberals' ensuing eagerness to advance a humanist version of Christianity. Yet she also examines the limitations at the heart of the liberal project, especially liberals' unwillingness to grant equality to those deemed "different" from the Christian male norm. Finally, the author analyzes the difficulties encountered by philosemitic and feminist radicals in reconceptualizing both classical liberalism and Christianity in order to make room for the claims of Jews and women.

Originally published in 1996.

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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Irony's Antics

Walser, Kafka, Roth, and the German Comic Tradition

Irony’s Antics marks a major intervention into the underexplored role of the comic and its relationship to irony in German letters.
Combining theoretical breadth with close textual analysis, Erica Weitzman shows how irony, a key term for the German romantics, reemerged in the early twentieth century from a postromantic relegation to the nonsensical and the nihilistic in a way that both rethought romantic irony and dramatically extended its reach.
Through readings of works by Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Roth against the rich history of comic theory (particularly Hegel and Freud), Weitzman traces the development of a specifically comic irony in modern German-language literature and philosophy, a play with the irony that is itself the condition for all play. She thus provides a crucial reevaluation of German literary history and offers new insights into the significance of irony and the comic from the Enlightenment to the present day.

A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany Cover

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A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany

Musical Politics and the Berlin Jewish Culture League

Lily E. Hirsch

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.

Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789–1848 Cover

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Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789–1848

Sven-Erik Rose

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.

Jewish Scholarship and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Germany Cover

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Jewish Scholarship and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Between History and Faith

Nils Roemer

    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.

Jews, Turks, and Other Strangers Cover

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Jews, Turks, and Other Strangers

Roots of Prejudice in Modern Germany

Jerome S. Legge, Jr.

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.

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