The curious humanist : Siegfried Kracauer in America / Johannes von Moltke.

By: Von Moltke, Johannes, 1966- [author.]Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooksPublisher: Oakland, California : Niversity of California Press, [2016]Copyright date: ©2016Description: 1 online resourceContent type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780520964853; 0520964853Subject(s): Film critics -- Germany -- Biography | Motion pictures -- Political aspects | Motion pictures -- History | Motion pictures -- Germany -- HistoryAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Curious humanist.DDC classification: 834/.912 LOC classification: PT2621.R135 | Z94 2016Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Introduction: Siegfried Kracauer and the politics of film theory -- Metropolitan contact zones: Kracauer in New York -- Totalitarian propaganda -- Nazi cinema -- Freedom from fear? -- From Hitler to Caligari: spaces of Weimar cinema -- Authoritarian, totalitarian -- Reframing Caligari: the politics of cinema -- Theory of film and the subject of experience -- The curious humanist -- History and humanist subjectivity -- Epilogue: Siegfried Kracauer and the emergence of film studies.
Summary: "Siegfried Kracauer is today considered one of the key thinkers of the twentieth century. During the Weimar Republic, he established himself as a trenchant theorist of film, culture, and modernity, now often ranked alongside his friends Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno. 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. In this study, 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 Kracauer's American writings helped shape the emergent discipline in turn. Through archival sources and detailed readings of Kracauer's work, von Moltke reconstructs what it means to consider Siegfried Kracauer as the New York Intellectual he became when he settled in Manhattan for the last quarter century of his life. Here, he found an institutional home at the MoMA film library, contributed to communications and propaganda research under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation, and published in the influential "little magazines" of the New York Intellectuals. Adopting a transatlantic perspective on Kracauer's work, von Moltke demonstrates how he pursued questions that animated contemporary critics from 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 conversations and debates, Kracauer's own voice emerges as that of an incisive cultural critic invested in a humanist understanding of the cinema."--Provided by publisher.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction: Siegfried Kracauer and the politics of film theory -- Metropolitan contact zones: Kracauer in New York -- Totalitarian propaganda -- Nazi cinema -- Freedom from fear? -- From Hitler to Caligari: spaces of Weimar cinema -- Authoritarian, totalitarian -- Reframing Caligari: the politics of cinema -- Theory of film and the subject of experience -- The curious humanist -- History and humanist subjectivity -- Epilogue: Siegfried Kracauer and the emergence of film studies.

"Siegfried Kracauer is today considered one of the key thinkers of the twentieth century. During the Weimar Republic, he established himself as a trenchant theorist of film, culture, and modernity, now often ranked alongside his friends Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno. 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. In this study, 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 Kracauer's American writings helped shape the emergent discipline in turn. Through archival sources and detailed readings of Kracauer's work, von Moltke reconstructs what it means to consider Siegfried Kracauer as the New York Intellectual he became when he settled in Manhattan for the last quarter century of his life. Here, he found an institutional home at the MoMA film library, contributed to communications and propaganda research under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation, and published in the influential "little magazines" of the New York Intellectuals. Adopting a transatlantic perspective on Kracauer's work, von Moltke demonstrates how he pursued questions that animated contemporary critics from 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 conversations and debates, Kracauer's own voice emerges as that of an incisive cultural critic invested in a humanist understanding of the cinema."--Provided by publisher.

Print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Kracauer (1889-1966) was already an established commentator on modernity in the Weimar Republic when he arrived in Manhattan in 1941 as a refugee from Hitler. In the US, he set about retooling himself as an English-language critic and published his most influential works, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film (1947) and Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960). Von Moltke (screen arts and German literature, Univ. of Michigan) offers a persuasive rereading of Kracauer in the context of mid-century New York's intellectual culture, positioning him not only as a key figure in the emergent discipline of film studies but also as an important contributor to debates about totalitarianism and democracy, the authoritarian personality and loss of experience, propaganda, and middlebrow culture (an understanding animated by his background as a German-Jewish exile and his engagement with Cold War America). Von Moltke places Kracauer in dialogue with other exiles--such as Hannah Arendt and theorists of the Frankfurt School--and with New York intellectuals such as Robert Warshow to shed light on Kracauer's fundamental humanism. Clearly written, accessible to a wide readership, and including a comprehensive bibliography, this book provides an excellent overview of Kracauer's thought and contributions to the development of humanistic inquiry. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. --Hester Delacey Baer, University of Maryland - College Park

Author notes provided by Syndetics

von MoltkeJohannes:

Johannes von Moltke is Professor of Screen Arts and Cultures and Professor and Chair of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. He is the author of No Place Like Home: Locations of Heimat in German Cinema and the editor of two volumes of writings by and about Siegfried Kracauer.

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