Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War

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9780691008509: Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War


Shell Shock Cinema explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was haunted by the horrors of World War I and the the devastating effects of the nation's defeat. In this exciting new book, Anton Kaes argues that masterworks such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, The Nibelungen, and Metropolis, even though they do not depict battle scenes or soldiers in combat, engaged the war and registered its tragic aftermath. These films reveal a wounded nation in post-traumatic shock, reeling from a devastating defeat that it never officially acknowledged, let alone accepted.


Kaes uses the term "shell shock"--coined during World War I to describe soldiers suffering from nervous breakdowns--as a metaphor for the psychological wounds that found expression in Weimar cinema. Directors like Robert Wiene, F. W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang portrayed paranoia, panic, and fear of invasion in films peopled with serial killers, mad scientists, and troubled young men. Combining original close textual analysis with extensive archival research, Kaes shows how this post-traumatic cinema of shell shock transformed extreme psychological states into visual expression; how it pushed the limits of cinematic representation with its fragmented story lines, distorted perspectives, and stark lighting; and how it helped create a modernist film language that anticipated film noir and remains incredibly influential today.


A compelling contribution to the cultural history of trauma, Shell Shock Cinema exposes how German film gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay behind Weimar's sleek façade.

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From the Inside Flap:

"While Weimar psychology took film screening as a metaphor for the replay of World War I trauma under hypnosis, actual movies found relentless metaphors of their own--less as group therapy than in the thrill of referred pain--for a residual war on the nerves. Where Picasso saw cubism in the jigsaw collage of World War I camouflage, Kaes sees in screen montage the jagged forms of combat aftershock. His gripping account is a work of massive historical authority and steady revelation."--Garrett Stewart, author of Framed Time: Toward a Postfilmic Cinema

"Siegfried Kracauer initiated the first deeply interpretive history of cinema with his work From Caligari to Hitler, in which he claimed that Weimar cinema presaged the rise of Nazism. Now, in Shell Shock Cinema, Anton Kaes offers a fully researched and equally profound work of film history by moving in the other direction, showing how the fantastic cinema of the Weimar era responded to the most explosive event of modern history--World War I. This is cinema scholarship at its most mature and also most adventuresome."--Tom Gunning, author of The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity

"Shell Shock Cinema is a superb book. It bristles with insights and will be widely read. Anton Kaes is the leading scholar of German film. His book rises far above the usual writing on the subject because of the very extensive knowledge he brings to bear on each of the films, and the highly acute analyses he continually offers. This is cultural scholarship at its very best."--Eric D. Weitz, author of Weimar Germany

"With his deep knowledge of German cultural history, Kaes traces how the ghosts of the dead of World War I--the defining trauma of modernity--haunt all major Weimar films. Shell Shock Cinema is a brilliant book about the threshold between the visible and the invisible in post-traumatic narratives, with war memory displaced into stories of madmen, vampires, mythic heroes, and science fiction. In an entirely new key, Weimar cinema reemerges as a paradigm for our post-traumatic times."--Andreas Huyssen, author of Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory

"Tony Kaes, an outstanding expert on the Weimar Republic, presents his masterpiece, offering a convincing alternative to Siegfried Kracauer's famous argument. German silent cinema does not prefigure Hitler, but arises from the shell shocks of World War I."--Friedrich Kittler, Humboldt University of Berlin

"Forlornly a woman at the beach looks at the crosses marking the graves surrounding her. Those who return from the front haunt their homes as specters of a lost self, those who remain at home are caught in melancholia, unable to relinquish the loss they know only secondhand. An apt visual motto for these original readings of Weimar cinema, which we will never watch in quite the same way ever again."--Elisabeth Bronfen, author of Crossmappings: Essays on Visual Culture

About the Author:

Anton Kaes is the Class of 1939 Professor of German and Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of From Hitler to Heimat: The Return of History as Film and M, and the coeditor of The Weimar Republic Sourcebook.

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Anton Kaes
Editore: Princeton University Press, United States (2011)
ISBN 10: 0691008507 ISBN 13: 9780691008509
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Descrizione libro Princeton University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shell Shock Cinema explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was haunted by the horrors of World War I and the the devastating effects of the nation s defeat. In this exciting new book, Anton Kaes argues that masterworks such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, The Nibelungen, and Metropolis, even though they do not depict battle scenes or soldiers in combat, engaged the war and registered its tragic aftermath. These films reveal a wounded nation in post-traumatic shock, reeling from a devastating defeat that it never officially acknowledged, let alone accepted. Kaes uses the term shell shock --coined during World War I to describe soldiers suffering from nervous breakdowns--as a metaphor for the psychological wounds that found expression in Weimar cinema. Directors like Robert Wiene, F. W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang portrayed paranoia, panic, and fear of invasion in films peopled with serial killers, mad scientists, and troubled young men.Combining original close textual analysis with extensive archival research, Kaes shows how this post-traumatic cinema of shell shock transformed extreme psychological states into visual expression; how it pushed the limits of cinematic representation with its fragmented story lines, distorted perspectives, and stark lighting; and how it helped create a modernist film language that anticipated film noir and remains incredibly influential today. A compelling contribution to the cultural history of trauma, Shell Shock Cinema exposes how German film gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay behind Weimar s sleek facade. Codice libro della libreria AAU9780691008509

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Descrizione libro Princeton University Press 2011-10-14, Princeton, N.J. |Oxford, 2011. paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria 9780691008509

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Descrizione libro Princeton University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shell Shock Cinema explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was haunted by the horrors of World War I and the the devastating effects of the nation s defeat. In this exciting new book, Anton Kaes argues that masterworks such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, The Nibelungen, and Metropolis, even though they do not depict battle scenes or soldiers in combat, engaged the war and registered its tragic aftermath. These films reveal a wounded nation in post-traumatic shock, reeling from a devastating defeat that it never officially acknowledged, let alone accepted. Kaes uses the term shell shock --coined during World War I to describe soldiers suffering from nervous breakdowns--as a metaphor for the psychological wounds that found expression in Weimar cinema. Directors like Robert Wiene, F. W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang portrayed paranoia, panic, and fear of invasion in films peopled with serial killers, mad scientists, and troubled young men. Combining original close textual analysis with extensive archival research, Kaes shows how this post-traumatic cinema of shell shock transformed extreme psychological states into visual expression; how it pushed the limits of cinematic representation with its fragmented story lines, distorted perspectives, and stark lighting; and how it helped create a modernist film language that anticipated film noir and remains incredibly influential today. A compelling contribution to the cultural history of trauma, Shell Shock Cinema exposes how German film gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay behind Weimar s sleek facade. Codice libro della libreria AAU9780691008509

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Descrizione libro Princeton University Press, 2011. Condizione libro: New. 2011. Paperback. Explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was haunted by the horrors of World War I and the devastating effects of the nation's defeat. This title exposes how German film gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay behind Weimar's sleek facade. Num Pages: 328 pages, black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: AS. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (UP) Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly; (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 161 x 235 x 13. Weight in Grams: 552. . . . . . . Codice libro della libreria V9780691008509

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Descrizione libro Princeton University Press. Condizione libro: New. 2011. Paperback. Explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was haunted by the horrors of World War I and the devastating effects of the nation's defeat. This title exposes how German film gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay behind Weimar's sleek facade. Num Pages: 328 pages, black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: AS. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (UP) Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly; (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 161 x 235 x 13. Weight in Grams: 552. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Codice libro della libreria V9780691008509

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Descrizione libro Princeton University Press. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War, Anton Kaes, Shell Shock Cinema explores how the classical German cinema of the Weimar Republic was haunted by the horrors of World War I and the the devastating effects of the nation's defeat. In this exciting new book, Anton Kaes argues that masterworks such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, The Nibelungen, and Metropolis, even though they do not depict battle scenes or soldiers in combat, engaged the war and registered its tragic aftermath. These films reveal a wounded nation in post-traumatic shock, reeling from a devastating defeat that it never officially acknowledged, let alone accepted. Kaes uses the term "shell shock"--coined during World War I to describe soldiers suffering from nervous breakdowns--as a metaphor for the psychological wounds that found expression in Weimar cinema. Directors like Robert Wiene, F. W. Murnau, and Fritz Lang portrayed paranoia, panic, and fear of invasion in films peopled with serial killers, mad scientists, and troubled young men. Combining original close textual analysis with extensive archival research, Kaes shows how this post-traumatic cinema of shell shock transformed extreme psychological states into visual expression; how it pushed the limits of cinematic representation with its fragmented story lines, distorted perspectives, and stark lighting; and how it helped create a modernist film language that anticipated film noir and remains incredibly influential today. A compelling contribution to the cultural history of trauma, Shell Shock Cinema exposes how German film gave expression to the loss and acute grief that lay behind Weimar's sleek facade. Codice libro della libreria B9780691008509

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