Synopses & Reviews
If the 21st century is the digital age, the 20th century can be characterized as the visual age--the era in which visual activity achieved unprecedented prominence. As this volume richly demonstrates, the visual mode was nowhere more dynamic and powerful during the 1900s than in Germany.
Visual Culture in Twentieth-Century Germany explores a wide spectrum of visual media in 20th-century Germany in their critical and social contexts. Contributors examine film, photography, cabaret performance, advertising, architecture, painting, dance, television, and cartography, investigating the ways in which these visual media were inflected by aesthetic innovation, changing attitudes toward gender and sexuality, and the political upheavals of the day. This volume sheds new light on German cultural history during the 1900s and represents a major contribution to the field of visual culture studies.
This volume of essays by 17 scholars is the outgrowth of a session on German visual culture at the 2001 Modern Language Association convention and represents a desire by German studies scholars to enter into the recently expanding arena of cultural studies. The essays cover a huge range of visual culture in 20th-century Germany that includes early German and Nazi era cinema, recent East German cabaret stage design, television sitcoms, contemporary painting and performance art, and the architectural transformation of Berlin since 1990. The essays are grouped into three sections--methodology and aesthetics, gender and sexuality, and political dimensions--that can be read either thematically, synchronically (according to visual medium), or chronologically (within the three sections) as editor Finney states in her introduction. The quality of scholarly insight among the individual essays is uneven, although some of the essays on methodology and aesthetics are enlightening. Others are as valuable for their works-cited sections. Many of the essays remind one that the most cogent observations on German visual culture are still to be found in the writings of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and other early, 20th-century critics. Summing Up: Optional. Graduate students; faculty.W. S. Bradley, Mesa State College, Choice, March 2007 Indiana University Press Indiana University Press
About the Author
Gail Finney is Professor of Comparative Literature and German at the University of California, Davis. Her publications include The Counterfeit Idyll: The Garden Ideal and Social Reality in Nineteenth-Century Fiction; Women in Modern Drama: Freud, Feminism, and European Theater at the Turn of the Century; Look Who's Laughing: Gender and Comedy (ed.); and Christa Wolf.
Table of Contents
Gail Finney, University of California, Davis. "Introduction"
Part I. Questions of Methodology and Aesthetics
Ch. 1. Questions of Methodology in Visual Studies, Nora M. Alter
Ch. 2. The Interarts Experiment in Early German Film, Ingeborg Hoesterey
Ch. 3. From Dance to Film: The Cinematic Art of Leni Riefenstahl and Dorothy Arzner, Dagmar von Hoff
Ch. 4. The Photographic Comportment of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Blake Stimson
Ch. 5. Ready, Set, Made! Joseph Beuys and the Critique of Silence, Jan Mieszkowski
Ch. 6. Las Vegas on the Spree: The Americanization of the New Berlin, Janet Ward
Part II. Gender And Sexuality
Ch. 7. Magnus Hirschfeld and the Photographic (Re)Invention of the 'Third Sex,' David James Prickett
Ch. 8. (Un)Fashioning Identities: Ernst Lubitsch's Early Comedies of Mistaken Identity, Valerie Weinstein
Ch. 9. Cigarettes, Advertising, and the Weimar Republic's Modern Woman, Barbara Kosta
Ch. 10. Brecht, Fassbinder, and Queer Montage, Patrick Greaney
Ch. 11. Activism, Alterity, Alex and Ali: Writing Germany's First Gay Sitcom, Thomas J. D. Armbrecht
Ch. 12. Gender, Imperialism, and the Encounter with Islam: Ruth Beckermann's Film A Fleeting Passage to the Orient, Dagmar C. G. Lorenz
Part III. Political Dimensions
Ch. 13. Cartographic Claims: Colonial Mappings of Poland in German Territorial Revisionism, Kristin Kopp
Ch. 14. Face/Off: Hitler and Weimar Political Photography, Lutz KoepnickCh. 15. 'Send in the Clowns': Carnivalizing the Heil-Hitler Salute in German Visual Culture, Peter Arnds
Ch. 16. Visual Signaling Systems in East German Political Cabaret: The Case of Berlin's Distel, Michele Ricci
Ch. 17. Reframing Celan in the Paintings of Anselm Kiefer, Eric Kligerman