The Aesthetics of Resistance, Volume 1: A Novel, Volume 1

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Duke University Press, Jun 1, 2005 - Fiction - 325 pages
6 Reviews
A major literary event, the publication of this masterly 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 crowning achievement of Peter Weiss, the internationally renowned dramatist best known for his play Marat/Sade. The first volume, presented here, was initially published in Germany in 1975; the third and final volume appeared in 1981, just six months before Weiss’s death.

Spanning the period from the late 1930s to World War II, this historical novel dramatizes anti-fascist resistance and the rise and fall of proletarian 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 embracing resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that we must look to art for new models of political action and social understanding. 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 are based on historical figures. The Aesthetics of Resistance is one of the truly great works of postwar German literature and an essential resource for understanding twentieth-century German history.

 

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Review: The Aesthetics of Resistance, Vol. 1 (The Aesthetics of Resistance #1)

User Review  - Josephine Ensign - Goodreads

This is an interesting (and, I am sure, important) book, but I found it way too dense and obtuse. No chapters, no paragraphs, just one 300-plus page run-on sentence of sorts. I think I do not have enough tough Germanic blood at present to be able to fully appreciate this book. Read full review

Review: The Aesthetics of Resistance, Vol. 1 (The Aesthetics of Resistance #1)

User Review  - Dom - Goodreads

"And yet, said Heilmann, in that moment, when the ring of his life comes full circle, he regains grandeur, almost sublimity. He does not throw himself into water to quench the burning of his wound and ... Read full review

Contents

A Monument to Radical Instants by Frederic Jameson
The Aesthetics of Resistance Volume 1 Part I
The Aesthetics of Resistance Volume 1 Part II
Glossary by Robert Cohen

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About the author (2005)

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 Büchner 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.

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