Difference and Orientation

Difference and Orientation : An Alexander Kluge Reader

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Alexander Kluge is one of contemporary Germany's leading intellectuals and artists. A key architect of the New German Cinema and a pioneer of auteur television programming, he has also cowritten three acclaimed volumes of critical theory, published countless essays and numerous works of fiction, and continues to make films even as he expands his video production to the internet. Despite Kluge's five decades of work in philosophy, literature, television, and media politics, his reputation outside of the German-speaking world still largely rests on his films of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

With the aim of introducing Kluge's heterogeneous mind to an Anglophone readership, Difference and Orientation assembles thirty of his essays, speeches, glossaries, and interviews, revolving around the capacity for differentiation and the need for orientation toward ways out of catastrophic modernity. This landmark volume brings together some of Kluge's most fundamental statements on literature, film, pre- and post-cinematic media, and social theory, nearly all for the first time in English translation. Together, these works highlight Kluge's career-spanning commitment to unorthodox, essayistic thinking.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 552 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 31.24mm | 28g
  • Cornell University Press and Cornell University Library
  • Ithaca, United States
  • English
  • 22 Halftones, black and white
  • 1501739212
  • 9781501739217
  • 552,324

Table of contents

Translator Information
List of Illustrations
Part I: Introduction
The Guardian of Difference: The Essayist Alexander Kluge by Richard Langston, by Richard Langston
Part II: Literature
1. The Difference: Heinrich von Kleist (1985)
2. Storytelling Is the Representation of Differences (2001)
3. The Peacemaker (2003)
4. Companions in Now-Time (2007)
5. Storytelling Means Dissolving Relations (2008)
6. Theory of Storytelling: Lecture One (2013)
7. What Is a Metaphor? (2016)
Part III: Film
8. Word and Film (1965) by Edgar Reitz, Alexander Kluge, and Wilfried Reinke
9. Bits of Conversation (1966)
10. The Realistic Method and the "Filmic" (1975)
11. Film: A Utopia (1983)
12. A Plan with the Force of a Battleship (2008)
13. No Farewell to Yesterday: New German Cinema from 1962 to 1981 as Seen from 2011 (2012)
Part IV: From Classical to New Media: Opera, Television, Internet
14. An Answer to Two Opera Quotations (1983/84)
15. On the Expressions "Media" and "New Media": A Selection of Keywords (1984)
16. Medialization: Musealization (1990)
17. The Opera Machine (2001)
18. Primitive Diversity (2002)
19. Planting Gardens in the Data Tsunami (2010)
Part V: Theory
20. The Role of Fantasy (1974)
21. The Function of the Distorted Angle in the Destructive Intention (1989)
22. The Political without Its Despair: On the Concept of "Populism" (1992)
23. War (2001)
24. The Art of Drawing Distinctions (2003)
25. Critique, Up Close and Personal (2007)
26. The Actuality of Adorno (2009)
27. Inventory of a Century: On Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project (2013)
28. An Instance of Internet Telephony over the Himalayas (2016)
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Review quote

"Richard Langston has assembled a remarkable collection of essays and interviews by Alexander Kluge that introduces English-speaking readers to a different Kluge than they are familiar with. The excellent translations capture the incisiveness, range, and wit of one of the most intelligent, prolific, and creative minds in contemporary Europeean history." -- Christopher Pavsek, Simon Fraser University, author of The Utopia of Film "Alexander Kluge's colossal oeuvre sets out to shepherd both Theodor W. Adorno's and Walter Benjamin's Frankfurt School into the twenty-first century. Richard Langston's anthology provides English-language readers with an essential compendium containing five decades of Kluge's reflections on Critical Theory's poetical potential." -- Rainer Stollmann, University of Bremen "Interest in Alexander Kluge's astonishingly varied production has exploded in the English-Language world. This volume makes available for the first time a judicious selection of his most important essays and shows Kluge the essayist is no less remarkable than Kluge the filmmaker, Kluge the author of fictions, Kluge the theorist, or Kluge the media visionary." -- Michael Jennings, Princeton University, coauthor of Walter Benjamin
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About Alexander Kluge

Richard Langston is Professor of German Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Visions of Violence and translator of History and Obstinacy.
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