The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler / Edition 1

The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler / Edition 1

by Laird M. Easton
Pub. Date:
University of California Press

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The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler / Edition 1

The life of Count Harry Kessler (1868-1937), the famous Anglo-German art patron, writer, and activist, offers a vivid and engrossing perspective on the tumultuous transformation of art and politics that took place in modern Europe between 1890 and 1930. In the first half of his career Kessler was one of the most ardent and well-known champions of aesthetic modernism in Imperial Germany, becoming a friend and patron to pioneering artists and writers of his day, most notably French sculptor Aristide Maillol, Belgian architect Henry van de Velde, English theater designer Gordon Craig, and Austrian poet and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal and, in his capacity as director of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Weimar and vice-president of the German Artists League, served as a spokesman and lightning rod for embattled modern art. In the aftermath of the First World War, in which he served as a soldier, propagandist, and secret agent, Kessler embarked on a public career as a committed internationalist and pacifist, a stance that led ultimately to his exile from Germany upon the Nazi seizure of power. Making use of the recently discovered portions of Kessler's extensive diaries, one of the most remarkable journals ever written, Laird Easton explains the reasons for this startling metamorphosis, showing for the first time the continuities between Kessler's prewar aestheticism and his postwar politics and highlighting his importance within the larger history of the rise of modern art and politics. This lively narrative, the first English-language biography of Harry Kessler, provides a rich and fascinating portrait of the man whom W. H. Auden called "a crown witness of our times."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520248175
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 01/25/2006
Series: Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 534
Sales rank: 776,682
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsxi
Introduction: Art and Politics in Modern Germany1
Part 1Family and Education
1.Pirates and Philosophers13
2.From Ascot to Hamburg22
3.At the University33
4.From New York to Potsdam47
Part 2Apprenticeship
5.Berlin in the 1890s59
6.Decadence and Renewal73
7.A Change of Plans88
Part 3The Third Weimar
8.The New Weimar99
9.The Culture of the Eye116
10.A Theater of Dreams129
11.The Rodin Scandal145
Part 4The Fever Curve
12.Greek Idylls159
13.Hofmannsthal and Der Rosenkavalier176
14.A Monument for Nietzsche185
15.The Legend of Joseph196
Part 5War's Purifying Fire
16.Furor Teutonicus219
17.Pax Germania237
18.Propaganda and Peace Feelers249
19.Apocalyptic Times266
Part 6The Red Count
20.The Lost Revolution279
21.Pacifism and Its Discontents298
22.Diplomatic Missions315
23.American Interlude327
24.Retreat from Politics346
Part 7The Path Downward
25.The Golden Twenties365
26.Revenge of the Philistines384
27."And thus he left me"397
Conclusion: A World Forever Lost?409

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