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Aesthetics of Resistance
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A major literary event, the publication of this masterful translation makes one of the towering works of twentieth-century German literature available to English-speaking readers for the first time. The three-volume novel The Aesthetics of Resistance is the magnum opus of Peter Weiss, the internationally renowned dramatist best known for his play Marat/Sade. The first volume, presented here in English, was initially published in Germany in 1975; the third and final volume in 1981, just six months before Weiss's death. Spanning from the late 1930s into World War II, this historical novel dramatizes anti-fascist resistance and the rise and fall of proletariat political parties in Europe. Living in Berlin in 1937, the unnamed narrator and his peers--sixteen and seventeen-year-old working-class students--seek ways to express their hatred for the Nazi regime. They meet in museums and galleries, and in their discussions they explore the affinity between political resistance and art, the connection at the heart of Weiss's novel. Weiss suggests that meaning lies in the refusal of humans to renounce resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that it is in art that new models of political action and social understanding are to be found. The novel includes extended meditations on paintings, sculpture, and literature. Moving from the Berlin underground to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War and on to other parts of Europe, the story teems with characters, almost all of whom based on historical figures. The Aesthetics of Resistance is a masterpiece: one of the truly great works of postwar German literature and an essential resource for understanding twentieth-century German history.
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Regarded by many as one of the leading works of this century, this novel documents the resistance to fascism in Europe (and within Germany) during WWII.

Table of Contents

Foreward: A Monument to Radical Instants / Fredric Jameson vii The Aesthetics of Resistance, volume I 1 Glossary / Robert Cohen 319

About the Author

Peter Weiss (1916-1982) was a German playwright, novelist, filmmaker, and painter. His works include the plays Marat/Sade and The New Trial (also published by Duke University Press) and the novels The Shadow of the Body of the Coachman and The Conversation of the Three Walkers. West Germany's most important literary award, the Georg Buchner Prize, was awarded to Weiss posthumously in 1982. Joachim Neugroschel has translated some two hundred books, including works by Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and Thomas Mann. He has won three pen translation awards and a French-American Foundation Translation Prize. He lives in Queens, New York.

Reviews

"[The Aesthetics of Resistance] is a magnum opus which sees itself ... not only as the expression of an ephemeral wish for redemption, but as an expression of the will to be on the side of the victims at the end of time."--W. G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction "[The Aesthetics of Resistance] ... which [Peter Weiss] began when he was well over fifty, making a pilgrimage over the arid slopes of cultural and contemporary history in the company of pavor nocturnus, the terror of the night, and laden with a monstrous weight of ideological ballast, is a magnum opus which sees itself ... not only as the expression of an ephemeral wish for redemption, but as an expression of the will to be on the side of the victims at the end of time."--W. G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction "The Aesthetics of Resistance is centrally important to any kind of assessment of twentieth-century German history."--James Rolleston, editor of A Companion to the Works of Franz Kafka "One of the most significant works of postwar German literature... The novel feels like an endless soliloquy on a bare stage, but one that takes the audience on the most amazingly imaginative time-and-space journey, with the narrative perspective cutting like a movie director's camera from one intensely rendered visual detail to the next... Exhilaratingly strange, compelling, and original. Readers who dare to enter this demanding verbal landscape will not come away empty-handed."--Mark M. Anderson, Bookforum "Some of the most gripping--and most beautiful--passages of Weiss's novel appear in detailed examinations of classic paintings by Delacroix, Goya, Brueghel, Gericault, Munch and others, and their bearing on contemporary struggles... Weiss's project has another, deeper aim than advancing the socialist revolution, namely to give voice to fascism's victims, and to preserve the memory of their lives and example--hence the archival nature of his work, with its painstaking attention to the names of fallen comrades."--Noah Isenberg, The Nation "This excellent translation of the first volume of this formidable, convoluted masterpiece makes Weiss's autobiographical novel, one of the major works of literature of the 20th century, available in English for the first time... Essential."--R.C. Conard, CHOICE "The Aesthetics of Resistance writes those who have been culturally and historically excluded back into the story of their time and demands--as modernism does--that we learn to read in a new way... The monuments of modernism today rise like Ozymandias' statue in the sand: Ulysses, Proust, Beckett, Pound's Cantos, The Making of Americans, The Waste Land. At last, we have an English translation of a work that stands alongside them."--Robert Buckeye, Review of Contemporary Fiction "The novel has long enjoyed a prominent place in the German intellectual left. Now that the first volume is finally available from Duke University Press in a superb English translation by Joachim Neugroschel (with a readable and engaging foreword by Fredric Jameson), Weiss's work can finally emerge into the wider public sphere where it deserves to occupy a prominent space."-- Inez Hedges, Socialism and Democracy "One of the most powerful books of contemporary German literature, this sprawling, sprited work is a novel masquerading as history masquerading as a novel as... The story, magnficently translated by Joachim Neugroschel, is splendid, experimental, and absolutely gripping."-- The Tempest

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