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Perspectives on Max Frisch

edited by Gerhard F. Probst and Jay F. Bodine

Max Frisch, with his countryman Friederich Diirrenmatt, shares the place of eminence in contemporary Swiss literature. Indeed, he ranks high among the recent leading writers in the German language. But, although several of his works -- novels and plays -- have been translated into English, he remains little known in America. In this collection of essays an international group of scholars provides a fresh introduction to this noted author.

The three leading essays review Frisch's work in the forms he has used most extensively -- drama, narrative fiction, and the personal diary. The remaining nine essays focus on specific works or topics. Among the works examined are I'm Not Stiller, A Wilderness of Mirrors, Wilhelm Tell, and the recent Man in the Holocene. Among the topics are Frisch's use of language and images, his treatment of women, and the element of parody. Concluding the volume is the most complete bibliography on Frisch to appear in English to date.

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The Politics of Magic

DEFA Fairy-Tale Films

Qinna Shen

From Paul Verhoeven’s The Cold Heart in 1950 to Konrad Petzold’s The Story of the Goose Princess and Her Loyal Horse Falada in 1989, East Germany’s state-sponsored film company, DEFA (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft), produced over forty feature-length, live-action fairy-tale films based on nineteenth-century folk and literary tales. While many of these films were popular successes and paved the way for the studio’s other films to enter the global market, DEFA’s fairy-tale corpus has not been studied in its entirety. In The Politics of Magic: DEFA Fairy-Tale Films, Qinna Shen fills this gap by analyzing the films on thematic and formal levels and examining their embedded agendas in relation to the cultural politics of the German Democratic Republic. In five chapters, Shen compares the films with earlier print versions of the same stories and analyzes revisions made in DEFA’s film adaptations. She also distinguishes the DEFA fairy-tale films from National Socialist, West German, and Disney adaptations of the same tales. Her archival work reconstitutes the cultural-historical context in which films were produced and received, and incorporates the films into the larger narrative of DEFA. For the first time, the banned DEFA fairy-tale comedy, The Robe (1961/1991), is discussed in depth. The book’s title The Politics of Magic is not intended to suggest that DEFA fairy-tale films were merely mouthpieces of official ideology and propaganda. On the contrary, Shen shows that the films run the gamut from politically dogmatic to implicitly subversive, from kitschy to experimental. She argues that the fairy-tale cloak permitted them to convey ideology in a subtle, indirect manner that allowed viewers to forget Cold War politics for a while and to delve into a world of magic where politics took on an allegorical form. The fact that some DEFA fairy-tale films developed an international audience (particularly The Story of Little Mook and Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella) not only attests to these films’ universal appeal but also to the surprising marketability of this branch of GDR cinema and its impact beyond the GDR’s own narrow temporal and geographic boundaries. Shen’s study will be significant reading for teachers and students of folklore studies and for scholars of German, Eastern European, cultural, film, media, and gender studies.

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Politics of the Self

Feminism and the Postmodern in West German Literature and Film

Richard W. McCormick

Richard McCormick examines the concepts of postmodernity and postmodernism as they apply to West Germany, discussing them against the background of cultural and political upheaval in that country since the 1960s, rather than exclusively in the more familiar setting of intellectual history. Considering six literary and cinematic texts that are marked by a preoccupation with the self and subjectivity, he underscores the crucial influence of feminism on writers and filmmakers--and on the "postmodern." In a broad international context he describes the conflicting forces that affected the West German student movementthe rationalistic tradition of the Weimar Left and more "irrational" influences such as French existentialism and surrealism (as well as the American "Beat" movement and rock & roll)--and shows how these forces played themselves out so that dogmatic Marxist Leninism was repudiated in favor of a "New Subjectivity.".

At the center of the discussion are the novels Lenz by Peter Schneider, Class Love (Klassenliebe) by Karin Struck, and Devotion by Botho Strauss, and the films Wrong Move written by Peter Handke and directed by Wim Wenders, Germany, Pale Mother by Helma Sanders-Brahms, and The Subjective Factor by Helke Sander. The author shows how ongoing attempts to attack the separation of emotion from reason, life from art, the private from the public, and the personal from the political brought about changes in outlook, from the 1960s to the early 1980s, that are related to the rise of new political movements--ecology, nuclear disarmament, and feminism.

Originally published in 1991.

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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Portrait Stories

Michal Peled Ginsburg

What makes stories about portraits so gripping and unsettling? Portrait Stories argues that it is _x000B_the ways they problematize the relation between subjectivity and representation. _x000B_Through close readings of short stories and novellas by Poe, James, Hoffmann, Gautier, Nerval, Balzac, Kleist, Hardy, Wilde, Storm, Sand, and Gogol, the author shows how the subjectivities of sitter, painter, and viewer are produced in relation to representations shaped by particular interests and power relations, often determined by gender as well as by class. She focuses on the power that can accrue to the painter from the act of representation (often at the expense of the portrait’s subject), while also exploring how and why this act may threaten the portrait painter’s sense of self. Analyzing the viewer’s relation to the portrait, she demonstrates how portrait stories problematize the very act of seeing and with it the way subjectivity is constructed in the field of vision.

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Postsecular Benjamin

Agency and Tradition

In readings of Walter Benjamin's work, religion often marks a boundary between scholarly camps, but it rarely receives close and sustained scrutiny. Benjamin's most influential writings pertain to modern art and culture, but he frequently used religious language while rejecting both secularism and religious revival. Benjamin was, in today's terms, postsecular. Postsecular Benjamin explicates Benjamin's engagements with religious traditions as resources for contemporary debates on secularism, conflict, and identity. Brian Britt argues that what animates this work on tradition is the question of human agency, which he pursues through lively and sustained experimentation with ways of thinking, reading, and writing.

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Prophecies of Language

The Confusion of Tongues in German Romanticism

Kristina Mendicino

The scenes of Babel and Pentecost, the original confusion of tongues and their redemption through translation, haunt German Romanticism and Idealism. This book begins by retracing the ways in which the task of translation, so crucial to Romantic writing, is repeatedly tied to prophecy, not in the sense of telling future events, but in the sense of speaking in the place of another. In prophetic speech, the confusion of tongues repeats, each time anew, as language takes place unpredictably in more than one voice and more than one tongue at once. Through readings of Hegel, Humboldt, Schlegel, and Hölderlin, Mendicino shows how, when one questions the presupposition that these major texts are composed by individual authors in one tongue, the works disclose more than a monoglot reading yields, namely the “plus” of their linguistic plurality. Each chapter also advocates for a philology that, in and through an inclination toward language, takes neither its unity nor its structure for granted but allows itself to be most profoundly affected, addressed—and afflicted—by it.

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Prosaic Conditions

Heinrich Heine and the Spaces of Zionist Literature

Na'ama Rokem

In her penetrating new study, Na’ama Rokem observes that prose writing—more than poetry, drama, or other genres—came to signify a historic rift that resulted in loss and disenchantment. In Prosaic Conditions, Rokem treats prose as a signifying practice—that is, a practice that creates meaning. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, prose emerges in competition with other existing practices, specifically, the practice of performance. Using Zionist literature as a test case, Rokem examines the ways in which Zionist authors put prose to use, both as a concept and as a literary mode. Writing prose enables these authors to grapple with historical, political, and spatial transformations and to understand the interrelatedness of all of these changes.

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Re-mapping Polish-German Historical Memory

Physical, Political, and Literary Spaces since World War II

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Rousseau-Kant-Goethe

Ernst Cassirer

The book description for "Rousseau-Kant-Goethe" is currently unavailable.

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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.).

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