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Culture in the Anteroom introduces an English-speaking readership to the full range of Siegfried Kracauer's work as novelist, architect, journalist, sociologist, historian, exile critic, and theorist of visual culture. This interdisciplinary anthology---including pieces from Miriam Bratu Hansen, Andreas Huyssen, Noah Isenberg, Lutz Koepnick, Eric Rentschler, and Heide Schlüpmann---brings together literary and film scholars, historians and art historians, sociologists, and architects to address the scope and current relevance of a body of work dedicated to investigating all aspects of modernism and modernity. The contributors approach Kracauer's writings from a variety of angles, some by placing them in dialogue with his contemporaries in Weimar Germany and the New York Intellectuals of the 1940s and '50s; others by exploring relatively unknown facets of Kracauer's oeuvre by considering his contributions to architectural history, the history of radio as well as other new media, and museum and exhibition culture.
During the Weimar Republic, Siegfried Kracauer established himself as a trenchant theorist of film, culture, and modernity, and he is now considered one of the key thinkers of the twentieth century. When he arrived in Manhattan aboard a crowded refugee ship in 1941, however, he was virtually unknown in the United States and had yet to write his best-known books, From Caligari to Hitler and Theory of Film. Johannes von Moltke details the intricate ways in which the American intellectual and political context shaped Kracauer's seminal contributions to film studies and shows how, in turn, Kracauer's American writings helped shape the emergent discipline. Using archival sources and detailed readings, von Moltke asks what it means to consider Kracauer as the New York Intellectual he became in the last quarter century of his life. Adopting a transatlantic perspective on Kracauer's work, von Moltke demonstrates how he pursued questions in conversation with contemporary critics from Theodor Adorno to Hannah Arendt, from Clement Greenberg to Robert Warshow: questions about the origins of totalitarianism and the authoritarian personality; about high and low culture; about liberalism, democracy, and what it means to be human. From these wide-flung debates, Kracauer's own voice emerges as that of an incisive cultural critic invested in a humanist understanding of the cinema.
Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966), friend and colleague of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, was one of the most influential film critics of the mid-twentieth century. In this book, Johannes von Moltke and Kristy Rawson have, for the first time assembled essays in cultural criticism, film, literature, and media theory that Kracauer wrote during the quarter century he spent in America after fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. In the decades following his arrival in the United States, Kracauer commented on developments in American and European cinema, wrote on film noir and neorealism, examined unsettling political trends in mainstream cinema, and reviewed the contemporary experiments of avant-garde filmmakers. As a cultural critic, he also ranged far beyond cinema, intervening in debates regarding Jewish culture, unraveling national and racial stereotypes, and reflecting on the state of arts and humanities in the 1950s. These essays, together with the editors' introductions and an afterward by Martin Jay offer illuminating insights into the films and culture of the postwar years and provide a unique perspective on this eminent émigré intellectual.
Today's film scholars draw from a dizzying range of theoretical perspectives--they're just as likely to cite philosopher Gilles Deleuze as they are to quote classic film theorist André Bazin. To students first encountering them, these theoretical lenses for viewing film can seem exhilarating, but also overwhelming. Thinking in the Dark introduces readers to twenty-one key theorists whose work has made a great impact on film scholarship today, including Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Michel Foucault, Siegfried Kracauer, and Judith Butler. Rather than just discussing each theorist's ideas in the abstract, the book shows how those concepts might be applied when interpreting specific films by including an analysis of both a classic film and a contemporary one. It thus demonstrates how theory can help us better appreciate films from all eras and genres: from Hugo to Vertigo, from City Lights to Sunset Blvd., and from Young Mr. Lincoln to A.I. and Wall-E. The volume's contributors are all experts on their chosen theorist's work and, furthermore, are skilled at explaining that thinker's key ideas and terms to readers who are not yet familiar with them. Thinking in the Dark is not only a valuable resource for teachers and students of film, it's also a fun read, one that teaches us all how to view familiar films through new eyes. Theorists examined in this volume are: Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, Roland Barthes, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Stanley Cavell, Michel Chion, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Douchet, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, Michel Foucault, Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Lacan, Vachel Lindsay, Christian Metz, Hugo Münsterberg, V. F. Perkins, Jacques Rancière, and Jean Rouch.
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