The seduction of culture in German history / Wolf Lepenies.

By: Lepenies, WolfMaterial type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooksPublisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2006Description: 1 online resource (viii, 260 p.)ISBN: 9781400827039 (electronic bk.); 1400827035 (electronic bk.)Subject(s): Politics and culture -- Germany -- History -- 18th century | Germany -- History -- Philosophy | Politics and culture -- Germany -- History -- 19th century | Politics and culture -- Germany -- History -- 20th century | Germany -- Intellectual life -- 18th century | Germany -- Intellectual life -- 19th century | Germany -- Intellectual life -- 20th century | Germany -- Cultural policy | National socialism -- Moral and ethical aspects | Germany -- HistoriographyAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Seduction of culture in German history.DDC classification: 943 LOC classification: DD97 | .L47 2006Other classification: 15.70 | 02.01 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Introduction : bombs over Dresden and the Rosenkavalier in the skies -- 1. Culture : a noble substitute -- 2. From the republic into exile -- 3. Novalis and Walt Whitman : German romanticism and American democracy -- 4. German culture abroad : victorious in defeat -- 5. French-German culture wars -- 6. German culture at home : a moral failure turned to intellectual advantage -- 7. The survival of the typical German : Faust versus Mephistopheles -- 8. German reunification : the failure of the interpreting class -- 9. Culture as camouflage : the end of central Europe -- 10. Irony and politics : cultural patriotism in Europe and the United States -- 11. Germany after reunification : in search of a moral masterpiece.
Summary: During the Allied bombing of Germany, Hitler was more distressed by the loss of cultural treasures than by the leveling of homes. Remarkably, his propagandists broadcast this fact, convinced that it would reveal not his callousness but his sensitivity: the destruction had failed to crush his artist's spirit. It is impossible to begin to make sense of this thinking without understanding what Wolf Lepenies calls The Seduction of Culture in German History. This fascinating and unusual book tells the story of an arguably catastrophic German habit--that of valuing cultural achievement above all els.
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DD97 .L47 2006 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt7st2w Available ocn437266814

Includes bibliographical references (p. [237]-248) and index.

Introduction : bombs over Dresden and the Rosenkavalier in the skies -- 1. Culture : a noble substitute -- 2. From the republic into exile -- 3. Novalis and Walt Whitman : German romanticism and American democracy -- 4. German culture abroad : victorious in defeat -- 5. French-German culture wars -- 6. German culture at home : a moral failure turned to intellectual advantage -- 7. The survival of the typical German : Faust versus Mephistopheles -- 8. German reunification : the failure of the interpreting class -- 9. Culture as camouflage : the end of central Europe -- 10. Irony and politics : cultural patriotism in Europe and the United States -- 11. Germany after reunification : in search of a moral masterpiece.

During the Allied bombing of Germany, Hitler was more distressed by the loss of cultural treasures than by the leveling of homes. Remarkably, his propagandists broadcast this fact, convinced that it would reveal not his callousness but his sensitivity: the destruction had failed to crush his artist's spirit. It is impossible to begin to make sense of this thinking without understanding what Wolf Lepenies calls The Seduction of Culture in German History. This fascinating and unusual book tells the story of an arguably catastrophic German habit--that of valuing cultural achievement above all els.

Description based on print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

How can German culture, steeped in the musical and literary genius of Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe, Heine, and Mann, be reconciled with the barbarism of the Third Reich? German-born sociologist Lepenies (Free Univ., Berlin) grapples with this question in a highly thought-provoking, if not contentious, series of "history of ideas" vignettes. Lepenies traces the evolution of the Kulturnation, a nation united by culture rather than by political institutions, from the 18th century, when it emerged in the absence of a central German state, until German reunification in 1990. Substituting culture for politics was neither exceptional nor unique to Germany, yet it managed to play a "greater role" and had more serious consequences there than elsewhere. Thomas Mann stands out as Lepenies's "guide" or pivotal figure. Mann's Faustian struggle between Kultur and Politik (politics) mirrored that of his fellow citizens and played out on two continents over the course of four decades. Chapters offer insight into the Franco-German "culture wars," Germany's immediate post-WW II cultural effervescence (1945-49), the different responses of a divided Germany to culture and politics, and finally the ways in which a reunified Germany remembers the Holocaust. Lepenies concludes with a cautiously optimistic view of Germans' reconciliation of culture and politics. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Shevin-Coetzee formerly, George Washington University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Wolf Lepenies is one of Germany's foremost intellectuals. He served as Rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg, the German Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (1986-2001), where he is now a Permanent Fellow. Lepenies is also Professor of Sociology at the Free University in Berlin, and he spent several years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of numerous books and writes regularly for the German national newspaper Die Welt .

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