Weimar Culture Revisited

Overview

For decades after the Second World War, historians and writers depicted cultural life in Germany's Weimar Republic (1918-1933) as an unstable mixture of avant-garde experimentation, decadence, and proto-fascist tendencies. However, they defined "culture" in terms of a canon created by elites, excluding the everyday practices and popular participation that were crucial aspects of Weimar. Bringing together a remarkable array of research, this volume provides an accessible cross-section of recent work on the era's ...

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Weimar Culture Revisited

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Overview

For decades after the Second World War, historians and writers depicted cultural life in Germany's Weimar Republic (1918-1933) as an unstable mixture of avant-garde experimentation, decadence, and proto-fascist tendencies. However, they defined "culture" in terms of a canon created by elites, excluding the everyday practices and popular participation that were crucial aspects of Weimar. Bringing together a remarkable array of research, this volume provides an accessible cross-section of recent work on the era's cultural history. Included here are investigations of visual and political culture, of transnational currents in the mass media and religious thought, and of the intense popular interest in sports, health, and nature. Weimar Culture Revisited attests to the extraordinarily multi-faceted nature of German history between the First World War and the Third Reich.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For some time now, scholars have been expanding the definition of 'Weimar Culture' to include much more than Brecht and the Bauhaus. This book offers a lively selection of some of the most innovative, challenging, and rewarding research currently underway in Weimar studies." - Matthew Jefferies, Professor of German History, Manchester University, UK

"Contradicting the cliché of inevitable doom, this collection takes a fresh look at Weimar's mass culture by exploring its visual, transnational, political, and recreational practices. The essays present the findings of a generation of 'new cultural historians' which emphasizes the potential of the first democratic culture in Germany." - Konrad H. Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

"This highly readable and important collection of essays challenges the teleological and doom-laden narrative that has been the conventional approach to the history of the Weimar Republic more or less since its end in 1933. John Alexander Williams has brought together a team of excellent younger scholars whose individual contributions to the volume cast Weimar culture in an entirely different light . . . No good reading list will be able to do without this highly recommended volume." - Anthony McElligott, Professor of History, University of Limerick, Ireland

"This collection challenges interpretations of Weimar culture in ways both complex and fresh. For the range of compelling topics, there is nothing like it." - Belinda Davis, Professor, The Department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures, Rutgers University, USA

"This culturally-informed social history liberates the history of Weimar culture from those narratives of pessimism and crisis into which it has been shoehorned by the focus on canonical works of high culture and opens up new vistas that lead the reader in unexpected directions." - Young-sun Hong, Associate Professor, Department of History, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Alexander Williams is Professor of Modern European History at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, USA. He is the author of Turning to Nature in Germany: Hiking, Nudism, and Conservation, 1900-1940 (2007) and the editor of Berlin since the Wall's End: Shaping Society and Memory in the German Metropolis Since 1989 (2008).

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Table of Contents

1. Revolution and the Weimar Avant-Garde: Contesting the Politics of Art, 1919-1924; D.Lewer
2. Cinema, Radio, and 'Mass Culture' in the Weimar Republic: Between Shared Experience and Social Division; C.Ross
3. Blue Angel, Brown Culture: The Politics of Film Reception in Göttingen; D.Imhoof
4. Middle-Class Heroes: Anti-Nationalism in the Popular Adventure Films of the Weimar Republic; O.Ashkenazi
5. Exotic Attractions and Imperialist Fantasies in Weimar Youth Literature; L.Springman
6. How Can a War Be Holy? Weimar Attitudes Toward Eastern Spirituality; T.Neuhaus
7. Visualizing the Republic: State Representation and Public Ritual in Weimar Germany; N.Rossol
8. The Party Does Indeed Fight Like a Man: The Construction of a Masculine Ideal in the Weimar Communist Party; S.A.Sewell
9. Sweat Equity: Sports and the Self-Made German; E.Jensen
10. Friends of Nature: The Culture of Working-Class Hiking; J.A.Williams

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