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Volume 1, Issue 2 (Winter 2005)


EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION: MEDIUM AND MESSAGE IN GERMAN MODERNISM, PP. 69-71

Thomas Pfau

Thomas Pfau is Eads Family Professor of English and Professor of German and Germanic Languages Literature at Duke University


ARNO HOLZ VS. THOMAS MANN: MODERNIST MEDIA FANTASIES, PP. 72-109

Janelle Blankenship

Drawing on the pre-Modernist writings of Arno Holz among others, Janelle Blankenship (Brown University) argues for a significantly changed understanding of the often commented-upon role of technology in Mann’s The Magic Mountain (1924). She rethinks Mann’s great novel as creating “media hierarchies,” playing technologies off one another and thus aligning them with larger discourse networks.


SOUNDS OF REVELATION: AESTHETIC-POLITICAL THEOLOGY IN SCHOENBERG'S 'MOSES UND ARON', PP. 110-140

Ruth HaCohen

Ruth HaCohen (Hebrew University) explores Modernism’s artistic exploration of its relationship to theology by taking up Schoenberg’s late, unfinished opera Moses and Aaron . Reading that opera as a theological-political-aesthetic Tractatus in the tradition of Spinoza, HaCohen draws out the theological implications of Schoenberg’s radical rethinking of formal conventions as these organize the relationship between music and text.


FROM MEDIATION TO MEDIUM: AESTHETIC AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE IMAGE (BILD) AND THE CRISIS OF BILDUNG IN GERMAN MODERNISM, PP. 141-180

Thomas Pfau

Thomas Pfau (Duke University) explores the radical transformation of the Bildungsroman – and of the image ( Bild ) as its narrative, speculative fuel – in 'The Magic Mountain'. Contrasting Mann’s narrative process with that of Goethe and Hegel, and drawing on the sociological writings of Georg Simmel and Arnold Gehlen, Pfau reads Mann’s novel as decisively breaking with Romanticism’s self-generating, organicist, and teleological conception of cultural narrative.


DECENTRED TOTALITIES IN 'DOCTOR FAUSTUS': THOMAS MANN AND THEODOR W. ADORNO, PP. 181-191

Evelyn Cobley

Reexamining the famous collaboration between Mann and Adorno on Doctor Faustus (1947), Evelyn Cobley (University of Victoria, B.C.) argues that by incorporating Adorno’s music theory Mann encouraged a reading of German fascism not as the belated eruption of insufficiently repressed atavistic impulses but as an early instance of a postmodern logic that, according to Adorno, undergirds both fascism and late capitalism.


POLITICS AND THE ENIGMA OF ART: THE MEANING OF MODERNISM FOR ADORNO, PP. 192-208

David S. Ferris

David Ferris (University of Colorado-Boulder) explores Theodor Adorno’s categorical rethinking of the legitimacy of art in his late Aesthetic Theory . Writing at a point when the modernity of Modernism seems to have faded, Adorno imagines an art that will not sever the preconditions of its existence and a mode of aesthetic reflection that aims to chart the conflicted, negative relationship of art to a past it appears to have dismissed. Adorno’s resolutely negative mode of cognition, Ferris argues, may be the only strategy for preserving the possibility of aesthetics and/as politics at the exact moment when, in an emphatically formalist turn, art seems to have turned defiantly away from such a model.


LYRIC'S CONSTELLATION, POETRY'S RADICAL PRIVILEGE, PP. 209-234

Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman (Stanford University) challenges trends in recent criticism that have tended to present and apply Walter Benjamin’s and Theodor Adorno’s theories and practices of the constellation and force-field as if these last stemmed primarily from interventionist Left critique of the aesthetic and the literary. Kaufman’s essay “Lyric's Constellation, Poetry’s Radical Privilege” shows that on the contrary, Benjamin and Adorno – while certainly holding no brief for “pure” formalist methodology – actually develop the constellation and force-field in urgent response to a kind of Left criticism that sloganeeringly maintains that works of art and culture are historically and sociopolitically determined.