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Sacrifice in the Modern World Cover

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Sacrifice in the Modern World

On the Particularity and Generality of Nazi Myth

David Pan

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.).

Scholem, Arendt, Klemperer Cover

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Scholem, Arendt, Klemperer

Intimate Chronicles in Turbulent Times

Steven E. Aschheim

Scholem, Arendt, Klemperer
Intimate Chronicles in Turbulent Times

Steven E. Aschheim

The way three prominent German-Jewish intellectuals confronted Nazism, as revealed by their intimate writings.

Through an examination of the remarkable diaries and letters of three extraordinary and distinctive German-Jewish thinkers -- Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, and Victor Klemperer -- Steven E. Aschheim illuminates what these intimate writings reveal about their evolving identities and world views as they wrestled with the meaning of being both German and Jewish in Hitler's Third Reich. In recounting how their personal and private selves responded to the public experiences these writers faced, their letters and diaries provide a striking composite portrait. Scholem, a scholar of Jewish mysticism and the spiritual traditions of Judaism; Arendt, a political and social philosopher; and Klemperer, a professor of literature and philology, were all highly articulate German-Jewish intellectuals, shrewd observers, and acute analysts of the pathologies and special contours of their times. From their intimate writings Aschheim constructs a revealing "history from within" that sheds new light on the complexity and drama of the 20th-century European and Jewish experience.

Steven E. Aschheim holds the Vigevani Chair of European Studies and teaches in the Department of History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is author of Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German-Jewish Consciousness, 1800--1923; The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany, 1890--1990; and Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises.

Published in association with Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

May 2001
120 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, index
cloth 0-253-33891-3 $19.95 s /

Seize the Book, Jail the Author Cover

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Seize the Book, Jail the Author

Johann Lorenz Schmidt and Censorship in Eighteenth-Century Germany

by Paul Spalding

Under the patronage of two south German nobles, Johann Lorenz Schmidt published an annotated translation of the Bible's opening books in 1735. The story of the controversy the work aroused and of its eventual suppression sheds light on many aspects of the eighteenth century, as well as the nature of censorship in our time.

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Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies

Vol. 42 (2006) through current issue

The objective of Seminar is to propagate the scholarly and critical knowledge und understanding of Germanic Studies, meaning the study primarily of literature and culture of the German-speaking countries, and secondarily of literature and culture in other Germanic languages excluding English.

Sex Crimes under the Wehrmacht Cover

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Sex Crimes under the Wehrmacht

David Raub Snyder

In this groundbreaking work, David Raub Snyder offers a nuanced investigation into the German army’s prosecution and punishment of sex offenders during the Second World War. In so doing, Snyder restores balance to the literature regarding the military administration of justice under Hitler and to the historiography of sexuality and the Third Reich. Although scholars have devoted considerable attention to military offenses, the literature is largely silent about crimes punishable under civilian law.
 
In many cases, the Wehrmacht’s response to rape, sexual assault, homosexual “offenses,” child molestation, incest, “racial defilement,” and bestiality often depended on the willingness of the offender to continue to bear arms for his country. Snyder notes that, contrary to conventional wisdom, soldiers on the eastern front often received severe punishments for sexual assaults on Soviet civilians. He demonstrates how military expedience and military justice became entangled and conflicted during the war.
 
Snyder also analyzes the Wehrmacht's unique penal and parole system, the first treatment of this important topic in the English language. The Wehrmacht’s system functioned as a filtering mechanism that rechanneled willing soldiers back to the front while simultaneously channeling recalcitrant or “incorrigible” soldiers in the opposite direction—to concentration camps for destruction through work at the hands of the SS.
 
Supported by research in Germany and detailed accounts largely unavailable in English until now, Snyder offers new perspectives on justice under the Wehrmacht and the situations of homosexuals, women, and children during wartime.

Shatterzone of Empires Cover

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Shatterzone of Empires

Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands

Edited by Omer Bartov and Eric D. Weitz

Shatterzone of Empires is a comprehensive analysis of interethnic relations, coexistence, and violence in Europe's eastern borderlands over the past two centuries. In this vast territory, extending from the Baltic to the Black Sea, four major empires with ethnically and religiously diverse populations encountered each other along often changing and contested borders. Examining this geographically widespread, multicultural region at several levels--local, national, transnational, and empire--and through multiple approaches--social, cultural, political, and economic--this volume offers informed and dispassionate analyses of how the many populations of these borderlands managed to coexist in a previous era and how and why the areas eventually descended into violence. An understanding of this specific region will help readers grasp the preconditions of interethnic coexistence and the causes of ethnic violence and war in many of the world's other borderlands both past and present.

The Smile of Tragedy Cover

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The Smile of Tragedy

Nietzsche and the Art of Virtue

Daniel R. Ahern

In The Smile of Tragedy, Daniel Ahern examines Nietzsche’s attitude toward what he called “the tragic age of the Greeks,” and shows it to be the foundation not only for his attack upon the birth of philosophy during the Socratic era, but also for his overall critique of Western culture. Through an interpretation of “Dionysian pessimism” (the need to risk suffering and death), Ahern clarifies the ways in which Nietzsche sees ethics and aesthetics as inseparable and how their theoretical separation is at the root of Western nihilism. Ahern explains why Nietzsche, in creating this precursor to a new aesthetics, rejects Aristotle’s medicinal interpretation of tragic art and concentrates on Apollinian cruelty as a form of intoxication without which there can be no art. Ahern shows that Nietzsche saw the human body as the vessel through which virtue and art are possible, as the path to an interpretation of “selflessness,” as the means to determining an order of rank among human beings, and as the site where ethics and aesthetics are inseparable.

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Sonnets to Orpheus

Rainer Maria Rilke

Sonnets to Orpheus is Rainer Maria Rilke's first and only sonnet sequence. It is an undisputed masterpiece by one of the greatest modern poets, translated here by a master of translation, David Young.

Rilke revived and transformed the traditional sonnet sequence in the Sonnets. Instead of centering on love for a particular person, as has many other sonneteers, he wrote an extended love poem to the world, celebrating such diverse things as mirrors, dogs, fruit, breathing, and childhood. Many of the sonnets are addressed to two recurrent figures: the god Orpheus (prototype of the poet) and a young dancer, whose death is treated elegiacally.

These ecstatic and meditative lyric poems are a kind of manual on how to approach the world - how to understand and love it. David Young's is the first most sensitive of the translations of this work, superior to other translations in sound and sense. He captures Rilke's simple, concrete, and colloquial language, writing with a precision close to the original.

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The Spell of Italy

Vacation, Magic, and the Attraction of Goethe

Richard Block

Wearied by his life as an administrator at the Duke’s court in Weimar, in 1786 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe departed unannounced in the middle of the night for what had been the destination of his imagination since childhood: Italy. His extended stay there dramatically affected his views of art, architecture, prose, poetry, and science. When he returned to Germany and Weimar, Goethe’s experiences translated into his life and work in ways that influenced countless others as they developed Germany’s own brand of high culture. The Spell of Italy: Vacation, Magic, and the Attraction of Goethe tracks the peculiar space Italy occupies in the cultural consciousness of German writers by reconsidering the Italian journeys of Goethe and Winckelmann and the legacy of those journeys in the works of Heine, Nietzsche, Freud, Mann, Carossa, and Bachmann. Author Richard Block contests previous assumptions about Italy as a place to encounter classical culture and creative rebirth. His study examines the degree to which Germany’s literary and cultural traditions appropriated a phantasmic Italy, showing how Winckelmann’s art history and Goethe’s Italian journey predisposed later writers to search for an aesthetic ideal in Italy that did not exist, and how their search for this absent ideal eventually resulted in disillusionment and deception. Building on previous work on Goethe, literary theory, and cultural history, The Spell of Italy offers compelling new ways of understanding Germany’s fascination with Italy from the eighteenth century to its troubled political history of the twentieth century.

The State, the Nation, and the Jews Cover

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The State, the Nation, and the Jews

Liberalism and the Antisemitism Dispute in Bismarck's Germany

Marcel Stoetzler

The State, the Nation, and the Jews is a study of Germany’s late nineteenth-century antisemitism dispute and of the liberal tradition that engendered it. The Berlin Antisemitism Dispute began in 1879 when a leading German liberal, Heinrich von Treitschke, wrote an article supporting anti-Jewish activities that seemed at the time to gel into an antisemitic “movement.” Treitschke’s comments immediately provoked a debate within the German intellectual community. Responses from supporters and critics alike argued the relevance, meaning, and origins of this “new” antisemitism. Ultimately the Dispute was as much about Germans and how they could best consolidate their recently formed national state as about Jews and those who hated them. Treitschke’s liberal antisemitism threw into sharp relief the antinomies inherent in the modern constellation of state, culture, and society.

In a newly united Germany the Dispute forced the intellectual community to question the parameters of national identity. Born within the liberal tradition that, at the time, mostly championed Jewish emancipation, the Dispute’s core question was how state, nation, race, ethnicity, and religion should relate to one another. From a close analysis of the crucial contributions to the debate, Marcel Stoetzler crafts a compelling critique of liberalism and liberal notions of national identity. The specifics of the Dispute raise uncomfortable questions about the role of race, religion, and ethnicity within modern liberalism. The Dispute provides an avenue for understanding the development of antisemitism within liberal society and, ultimately, is an indictment of liberalism itself.

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