Critical Realism: History, Photography, and the Work of Siegfried Kracauer

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9781932800142: Critical Realism: History, Photography, and the Work of Siegfried Kracauer
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Siegfried Kracauer started his career with film reviews during the Weimar period in Germany (pre-WW2) and expanded his interests to detailed discussions of film, photography, and history, and the interactions among these disciplines. He was especially interested in how films model themselves to the tastes of their audiences, who in turn, model themselves after films, and how this shapes the evolution of the culture.

Exiled in the 1930s, Kracauer lived for a while in Paris and finally settled in New York. In exile, he viewed himself as a cultural observer, a "time-traveler." He wrote a lot about how history relates to time while photography is in the moment and totally visual.

The book seems to be about Kracauer, but Barnouw says it's not. She says it's about "the significance of his critical realism for cultural modernity."

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Dagmar Barnouw teaches intellectual and cultural history at the University of Southern California. Her American publications include books on intellectual positions 1918-1933 (Weimar Intellectuals and the Threat of Modernity); on Arendt's political thought (Visible Spaces: Hannah Arendt and the German-Jewish Experience); on documentary objectivity in photography, journalism and histography (Critical Realism; Germany 1945: Views of War and Violence); on V.S. Naipaul's documentarism as cultural critique (Naipaul's Strangers); and on the politicized memory of WW2 in postwar Germany and America (The War in the Empty Air).

Review:

"This historical account of the development of one of the most complex discussions of representation in its social and cultural context will be of great interest to a wide range of readers. The debates about visual representation -- whether in film or in the photograph -- were and are greatly influenced by Kracauer. Barnouw's situation of these debates is sophisticated and clever. The high point of the book is her discussion of the epistemological problem of the observer. She lucidly and succinctly presents Kracauer's own views on the topic and then moves into a broader and truly brilliant discussion of this question of literary and visual modernism." -- Sander L. Gilman, University of Chicago

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780801847547: Critical Realism: History, Photography, and the Work of Siegfried Kracauer (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

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ISBN 10:  0801847540 ISBN 13:  9780801847547
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994
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