The seduction of culture in German history


The seduction of culture in German history

Wolf Lepenies

Princeton University Press, c2006

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 10



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



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 else and envisioning it as a noble substitute for politics. Lepenies examines how this tendency has affected German history from the late eighteenth century to today. He argues that the German preference for art over politics is essential to understanding the peculiar nature of Nazism, including its aesthetic appeal to many Germans (and others) and the fact that Hitler and many in his circle were failed artists and intellectuals who seem to have practiced their politics as a substitute form of art. In a series of historical, intellectual, literary, and artistic vignettes told in an essayistic style full of compelling aphorisms, this wide-ranging book pays special attention to Goethe and Thomas Mann, and also contains brilliant discussions of such diverse figures as Novalis, Walt Whitman, Leo Strauss, and Allan Bloom. "The Seduction of Culture in German History" is concerned not only with Germany, but with how the German obsession with culture, sense of cultural superiority, and scorn of politics have affected its relations with other countries, France and the United States in particular.


Introduction Bombs over Dresden and the Rosenkavalier in the Skies 1 Chapter 1: Culture: A Noble Substitute 9 Lessons in Diminished Particularity 9 A Strange Indifference to Politics 11 The German Spirit and the German Reich 16 Chapter 2: From the Republic into Exile 27 Reflections of a Political Thomas Mann 27 The Aesthetic Appeal of Fascism 36 Art and Morality 45 The Blurring of Exile and Emigration 48 Chapter 3: Novalis and Walt Whitman: German Romanticism and American Democracy 56 A Country without an Opera 56 Joseph in America 60 German Democratic Vistas 63 Emerson's Sponsors: Beethoven & Bettina 70 Chapter 4: German Culture Abroad: Victorious in Defeat 76 The Closing of the American Mind 76 The German Mind in Jeopardy 85 A Calm Good-Bye to Europe 88 Chapter 5: French-German Culture Wars 93 Two Revolutions 93 Goethe in Exile 98 "Culture Wars" and Their Origin 100 A Puzzle in the History of Sociology 105 A Mediator: Maurice Halbwachs 107 An Expulsion from Berlin 110 The Murder of Maurice Halbwachs 112 Strange Defeat 114 Intellectual Resistance 116 Limits of the German Revolution 122 Chapter 6: German Culture at Home: A Moral Failure Turned to Intellectual Advantage 128 The German Catastrophe 128 The Resurrection of Culture 134 Inner Emigration and Its Discontents 138 German and Jewish Diaspora 145 Chapter 7: The Survival of the Typical German: Faust versus Mephistopheles 154 Goethe in the Polls 154 Goethe after 1945 159 Chapter 8: German Reunification: The Failure of the Interpreting Class 165 Cultural Guardians 165 Intellectual Disaster in the East 167 Intellectual Tragicomedy 170 Chapter 9: Culture as Camouflage: The End of Central Europe 176 Europe: Dream and Bureaucracy 176 A Victory of Culture over Power 178 Chapter 10: Irony and Politics: Cultural Patriotism in Europe and the United States 186 An American Patriot from Europe 186 Hamlet and Fortinbras 190 European Pygmies and the American Giant 195 The Irony of American History 196 Chapter 11: Germany after Reunification: In Search of a Moral Masterpiece 200 Culture and Realpolitik 200 Solving Political Problems in the Field of Culture 203 Notes 211 Bibliography 237 Acknowledgments 249 Index 251

「Nielsen BookData」 より