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Fritz Stern: Kulturpessimus als politische Gefahr; OA The politics of cultural despair, Berkeley 1961

A strikingly clear insight in -to put it simple- the german “Früher-war-alles-besser” attitude and its political implications. Biographies and analyses of the works of three now forgotten but at their time hugely influential German “Kulturkritiker”. Describes the sources of a nationalist and hegemonial approach towards a peoples culture. The described kind of semi-scientific argumentation lays the foundation for which later turns into a watered down justification of an “our nation first” approach. Creating awareness for the foundation of imperialistic nationalism, frightfully up to date.

 

 

Albrecht Betz: Hanns Eisler, Musik in einer Zeit die sich bildet;edition text/6& KRITIK Mü1976

A well written book, focusing on the political and esthetical cause for Eisler to change his style according to the fast chainging times he lived in, avoiding all private biographical elements.

 

Predag Matvejević: Between exile and asylum -An eastern epistolary Zagreb 2013

Quite a discovery; one of the most interesting books about the life in Soviet Union from the 70-90, and written by somebody who came from neither within the Soviet-Union nor from the West but was intellectually connected to “both parts of the world”. He uses The epistolary form with several later post scripts and ammendments brilliantly The style allows him to omit everything told and describe before so with his clear observation he can look for the necaessary distance himself of his private impression but bear also to bear witness at the same time.

 

Heinz Berggrün: Abenstunden in Demokratie OA: Angekreidet, Ein Zeitbuch 1947

Short articles, the author calls them “gloss” of everyday life immediately after the war in Germany. The pedagogical attitude is distinct as he is constantly engaging with the readers consciousness.

 

Slavenka Drakulić: How we survived Communism and even laughed; Zagreb 1992

A rather dull compilation of short stories about (female) life in the eastern block.

The fixation on the lack of supply of goods and its effects give a superficial impression which might be justified with date of its publication. It might have had a value at a time where everything from the east seem to have been exotic for western ears and reader would enjoy the “you wouldn’t belive… ” stories .

 

Thomas Esser,Hrsg: Die älteste Taschenuhr der Welt – Der Henlein Uhrenstreit: Verlag des Germanischen Nationalmusemums Nürnberg 2014

Book catalouge of an object in the collection which was for a short period praised as the oldest surving portable watch. Short chapters watch making, craft and trade in Nürnberg and the rise and fall of the adscribed inventor as a national symbol.

 

Zoran Feric: Engel im Abseits , Zagreb 2013

Collection of short stories, images of a provincial youth and adolescence private accounts of the war and as in “forma amorfa” something like a self reflective crime story, not a great writing style, the way how he uses images is often to flat and thereby spoils his poetic chances.

 

Sigmund Freud: Eine Kindheitserinnerung des Leonardo da Vinci; OA 1910

Short study in association based cominded and an essay to explain the sublimation within the arists/researchers soul. With a reference to Leonardos painting: Madonna and Child with Saint Anne

 

 

Ludwig Pfandl: Phillip II Ein Gemälde eines Lebens und einer Zeit, München 1948 (EA 1938).

One of the early  biographies to correct the image of Phillip II, son of Charles V. and father Don Carlos. Good reference the  burgundian (and later spanish) court ceremonial from archaich traditions which dominatiaed Philps self-conception. Describes the life of the Spanish king in two main chapters: everything until Charls V. deaths is biography, the remaing 40 years are history.

 

H.G. Wells: The island of Doctor Moreau (1898)

Raises the Question of where does a humankind start, but not going nowhere ethically as deep as Shelly’s “Frankensteins Monster”; a bit of SciFi horror that could be easily translated into our times, good for vegetarians and kids, despite that: worthwhile entertainment.

 

Beziehungszauber Musik in der Modernen Dichtung, Hrsg. C. Dahlhaus und N.Miller, Mü 1988;

Collection of various papers dealing with unhindered approach of non musicians to music, on the stimulating power of music if it is not cluttered by  knowledge as in the arictle by Joachim Kaiser: Thomas Mann, die Musik und Wagner.

 

Theodor W. Adorno, Ohne Leitbild, Parva Aesthetica, Ffm 1967

Collection of various younger articles, and papers. Of recent interest for the Leitkultur-Debatte in Germany the article “Ohne Leitbild” and “Funktionalismus heute”, but also lovely and for Adorno’s writing unconventional miniatures like the Walter Benjamin style memories “Amorbach”, “Lucceser Memorial” and  “Aus Slis Maria” and his clever analysis in “Der mißbauchte Barock”.

 

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