Category Archives: Things German

Jocelyn Brooke’s ‘Drawn Sword’ — An English ‘Death in Venice’?

I was reading Jocelyn Brooke during a period of thinking again about an old love, the German genius Thomas Mann. Brooke is a serious-minded English writer from the mid twentieth century. He was a fine stylist, and with that went … Continue reading

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The Natural History of Destruction

The title, and the concept, belong to W.G. (“Max”) Sebald, who died so tragically young. I suggested in my book A Shoe Story that a literal translation of Luftkrieg und Literatur [‘Airwar and Literature’] would have been more helpful and drawn more … Continue reading

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Siegfried Kracauer’s idea of ‘Mass Ornament’

Mass society as its own ornament was how the German social critic Siegfried Kracauer understood the street life of the dying years of the Weimar Republic. You can find this clever idea which brings us right to the present day … Continue reading

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Did Nietzsche want Success?

                             Did Nietzsche want Success? Success is a judgement about how we relate to our own times. It is a synonym for victory over circumstances and other people, and in extremis other countries, those forces which might otherwise make us … Continue reading

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The Year to Come for a European-minded writer who lives in England

I’m a European-minded writer who lives in England and writes in English, which is my native tongue. I’m not monoglot. French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish are all available to me, but I’ll never now make the step of trying … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Britain Today, Nietzsche in Turin, The Secret Artist A Close Reading of Sigmund Freud, Things German, Who are you?, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The German 1930s and the Future of Art: more from A Shoe Story

When Heidegger commented on van Gogh’s painting ‘The Shoes’ (aka ‘Boots with Laces’) fifty years, from 1886 to 1936, had passed, and what fifty years, in Europe! Van Gogh himself had expected the nineteenth century to go out with a … Continue reading

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From the Life of a van Gogh critic: the debate over Diamat and the Run-in with Heidegger

The leading mid-20th century art critic Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) was a funnel for the European ideas that rapidly modernized the American art scene between the wars. He was a superb commentator on van Gogh and Cézanne, and it was his … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Current Affairs, New York Intellectuals, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments