In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

This, Panofskysaid, had convinced him that photography was an art (p. 52). In his response, Kracauer made it clear that he was dealing with the “documentary tendency” as against that of telling stories and, therefore, with the ways these tendencies were manifest in the film production (p. 54). He insisted more pugnaciously on the antagonistic conflict rather than recognizing, with Panofsky,that the photographic medium, like the other arts, combined narrative and representation. Kracauer had worked in Germany as a professional film critic. He was a writer, kept from teaching by a speech defect. The art historian Panofsky’s only contribution to film theory had been an essay, “Styleand Medium in Motion Pictures,”which made Kracauer eager to get in touch with him when he arrived in New York. Panofsky’s devotion to his profession as a teacher is vividly expressed in a letter he wrote to Kracauer toward the end of his career. Written in German, as some of them were, the letter states, and I translate: “Sinceby now I no longer teach at all and, supposedly,work on my own,I feel somewhat stranded. ‘Research ’ is fine, but when an old professor is suddenly limited to his desk, it is somewhat as though he should live on nothing butfraises Cardinal-a fine thing as a dessert but no substitute for bread and pot roast” (p. 21). Breidecker’s book was sponsored by the Warburg Archive of the University of Hamburg. The Warburg Institute had been moved from Hamburg to London when the Nazis came to power. In the 1960s Kracauer became peripherally connected with the institute when he worked on his last book, which was concerned with the theory of history . The institute was directed at that time by the art historian Ernst H. Gombrich. Breidecker publishes in this book an extensive selection of letters concerned with the affairs of the institute . Kracauer did not actually write his book History: TheLast Things before the Last, but before he died he had written his usual detailed outline, which enabled his wife Lili to produce the text and publish it in 1969. The book on history was a direct offshoot of Kracauer’s theory of fi1m:just as the medium of film reflected an unstaged, limitless and fortuitous reality , the historian was supposed to face the same shapeless reality,which he undertook to interpret as a meaningful, logicallyconnected series of happenings . It was a skeptical view of the validity of human knowledge. The key item of Breidecker’s book-the essay “‘Ferne NHhe’: Kracauer, Panofsky und ‘The Warburg Tradition”’ (“Distant Closeness’: Kracauer, Panofsky and ‘The Warburg Tradition’”)-is written by himself. These hundred pages give a valuable survey of the “distance and nearness” of the period, the years of homeless emigration, so remote and yet so tangibly relevant, and the new roots for new associations. The essay describes the social, political and economic conditions under which the leading personalities (such as their fellow intellectualsWalter Benjamin and TheodorAdorno) acted and the decisive ideas in the arts. This panorama of the time, alone, would recommend a translation. COGNITIONAND THEVISUAL ARTS by Robert L. Solso. MIT Press, Cambridge , MA, U.S.A., and London, U.K., 1996 (paper; original hardback 1994). 294 pp. $17.50. ISBN: 0-262-69186-8. Reviewed by Istvrin Hargittai, Budapest Technical University,Budapest, Hungary. E-mail:

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 75
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.