Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book suggestions from Dave Monroe

The Haunted Screen - Lotte H. Eisner - Paperback - University of California Press

The golden age of German cinema began at the end of the First World War and ended shortly after the coming of sound. From The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari onwards the principal films of this period were characterized by two influences: literary Expressionism and the innovations of the theater directors of this period, in particular Max Reinhardt. This book demonstrates the connection between German Romanticism and the cinema through Expressionist writings.


Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler

By the 1920s in Central Europe, it had become a truism among intellectuals that natural science had "disenchanted" the world, and in particular had reduced humans to mere mechanisms, devoid of higher purpose. But could a new science of "wholeness" heal what the old science of the "machine" had wrought? Some contemporary scientists thought it could. These years saw the spread of a new, "holistic" science designed to nourish the heart as well as the head, to "reenchant" even as it explained. Critics since have linked this holism to a German irrationalism that is supposed to have paved the way to Nazism. In a penetrating analysis of this science, Anne Harrington shows that in fact the story of holism in Germany is a politically heterogeneous story with multiple endings. Its alliances with Nazism were not inevitable, but resulted from reorganizational processes that ultimately brought commitments to wholeness and race, healing and death into a common framework.Before 1933, holistic science was a uniquely authoritative voice in cultural debates on the costs of modernization. It attracted not only scientists with Nazi sympathies but also moderates and leftists, some of whom left enduring humanistic legacies. Neither a "reduction" of science to its politics, nor a vision in which the sociocultural environment is a backdrop to the "internal" work of science, this story instead emphasizes how metaphor and imagery allow science to engage "real" phenomena of the laboratory in ways that are richly generative of human meanings and porous to the social and political imperatives of the hour.(less)

Paperback336 pages
Published January 31st 1999 by Princeton University Press (first published July 22nd 1996)
original title
Reenchanted Science

0691050503 (ISBN13: 9780691050508)