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Going to the Dogs is set in Berlin after the crash of 1929 and before the Nazi takeover, years of rising unemployment and financial collapse. The moralist in question is Jakob Fabian, "aged thirty-two, profession variable, at present advertising copywriter . . . weak heart, brown hair," a young man with an excellent education but permanently condemned to a low-paid job without security in the short or the long run.What's to be done? Fabian and friends make the best of it--they go to work though they may be laid off at any time, and in the evenings they go to the cabarets and try to make it with girls on the make, all the while making a lot of sharp-sighted and sharp-witted observations about politics, life, and love, or what may be. Not that it makes a difference. Workers keep losing work to new technologies while businessmen keep busy making money, and everyone who can goes out to dance clubs and sex clubs or engages in marathon bicycle events, since so long as there's hope of running into the right person or (even) doing the right thing, well--why stop? Going to the Dogs, in the words of introducer Rodney Livingstone, "brilliantly renders with tangible immediacy the last frenetic years [in Germany] before 1933." It is a book for our time too.
He was famously hostile to biography as a literary form, yet this life of Adorno by one of his last students gives us a clear look at how the man and his moment came together to create 'critical theory'. The book is also a window onto the cultural ferment of Adorno's day.
In the frenzied final years of the Weimar Republic, amid economic collapse and mounting political catastrophe, Walter Benjamin emerged as the most original practicing literary critic and public intellectual in the German-speaking world. Volume 2 of the Selected Writings is now available in paperback in two parts. In Part 1, Benjamin is represented by two of his greatest literary essays, "Surrealism" and "On the Image of Proust," as well as by a long article on Goethe and a generous selection of his wide-ranging commentary for Weimar Germany's newspapers. Part 2 contains, in addition to the important longer essays, "Franz Kafka," "Karl Kraus," and "The Author as Producer," the extended autobiographical meditation "A Berlin Chronicle," and extended discussions of the history of photography and the social situation of the French writer, previously untranslated shorter pieces on such subjects as language and memory, theological criticism and literary history, astrology and the newspaper, and on such influential figures as Paul Valery, Stefan George, Hitler, and Mickey Mouse.
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