Category Archives: The Arts

Daniel Herwitz: “Avant-Garde Legacies: Identity Politics in a Consumerist World”

What is the legacy of the avant-garde today?  My dear friend and colleague at Michigan, Daniel Herwitz, and I spent one of our regular lunches together exploring this question.  As I was telling him that my ten-part travelogue across five … Continue reading

Posted in Crisis, Culture, Left, Resistance, Revolt, The Arts | Tagged

The 1916 Event “Cabaret Voltaire” in Zürich (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/10-end)

If rebels are damned and comrades turn into hermits, is it still possible to join friends in planning together the next revolt? In fact it is possible, especially among emigrés in a cosmopolitan city, as I remembered when I took … Continue reading

Posted in Autonomy, Collaboration, Culture, Literature, Revolt, The Arts | Tagged

The 1912 Friends as “Hermits” in Vienna (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/9)

If revolutions fail and rebels are damned, what happens to friends like my two favorite comrades conspiring in Caspar Friedrich’s painting in 1819 Dresden?   If they do not plan the next revolt, what do they talk about when they contemplate … Continue reading

Posted in Crisis, Friends, The Arts, The Double | Tagged , ,

The 1910 Rebels’ “Hell” in Paris (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/8)

Near the end of my brief journey across Central European rivers and revolts, Rodin’s The Gates of Hell (1880-1917) appears to me as a memorial to the perennial, tragic failure of the revolution and the damnation of the rebels. Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) … Continue reading

Posted in Melancholy, Revolt, The Arts | Tagged

The 1567 “Dutch Revolt” in Brussels (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/4)

Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum is holding the first-ever comprehensive monograph exhibition on Pieter Bruegel the Elder, bringing together nearly two-thirds of his works to celebrate 450 years since his death. The eye-opening focus of the astonishing exhibition is on the method … Continue reading

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Pirandello’s “Enrico IV,” a tragedy of refusal

Luigi Pirandello’s tragedy, Enrico IV (1922), is a great post-modern Hamlet. I discuss its politics of refusal in terms of melancholic disengagement and destituent power in a chapter of my book-length scholarly project on the self-destruction of revolution since Romantic theater.

Posted in Disengagement, Melancholy, The Arts | Tagged

Anti-Hellenism (1)

Why don’t we study anti-Hellenism? This question came again to my mind as I finished reading an excellent review essay by the Cambridge historian of classical reception Dr. Helen Roche, “The Peculiarities of German Philhellenism” (2017), which surveys studies published … Continue reading

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