This major new book offers a much-needed introduction to the work of Siegfried Kracauer, one of the main intellectual figures in the orbit of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. It is part of a timely revival and reappraisal of his unique contribution to our critical understanding of modernity, the interrogation of mass culture, and the recognition of both the dynamism and diminution of human experience in the hustle and bustle of the contemporary metropolis. In stressing the extraordinary variety of Kracauer’s writings (from scholarly philosophical treatises to journalistic fragments, from comic novels to classified reports) and the dazzling diversity of his themes (from science and urban architectural visions to slapstick and dancing girls), this insightful book reveals his fundamental and formative influence upon Critical Theory and argues for his vital relevance for cultural analysis today.Kracauer’s work is distinguished by an acute sensitivity to the ‘surface manifestations’ of popular culture and a witty, eminently readable literary style. In exploring and making accessible the work of this remarkable thinker, this book will be indispensable for scholars and students working in many disciplines and interdisciplinary fields: sociology and social theory; film, media and cultural studies; urban studies, cultural geography and architectural theory; philosophy and Critical Theory.
About the Author
Graeme Gilloch is Reader in Sociology at the University of Lancaster
Table of Contents
Our Companion Introduced: An Intellectual Schwejk Part I From Inner Life: Sociological Expressionism Chapter 1 Small Mercies: The Spirit of our Times Chapter 2 Portraits of the Age Part II From Our Weimar Correspondent: The “Newest Germany” and Elsewhere Chapter 3 On the Surface: The Dialectics of Ornament Chapter 4 Berlin Impromptus Part III From the Boulevards: Paris of the Second Empire in Kracauer Chapter 5 Offenbach in Paris Chapter 6 Orpheus in Hollywood Part IV From the New World: Monstrous States, Mental Images Chapter 7 The Caligari Complex Chapter 8 Re-Surfacing Work Part V From the Screen: Redeeming Images, Remembered Things Chapter 9 Film, Improvisation and “The Flow of Life” Chapter 10 Film, Phantasmagoria and the Street Inconclusive: Penultimate Things