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Philippe Despoix (ed.), Siegfried Kracauer, ...: The Past's Threshold

Siegfried Kracauer, Philippe Despoix (ed.), Maria Zinfert (ed.)

The Past's Threshold
Essays on Photography

Translated by Conor Joyce

Softcover, 128 pages

PDF, 128 pages

Essays on Photography by Siegfried Kracauer

Siegfried Kracauer was a leading intellectual figure of the Weimar Republic and one of the foremost representatives of critical theory. Best known for a wealth of writings on sociology and film theory, his influence is felt in the work of many of the period’s preeminent thinkers, including his friends, the critic Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno, who once claimed he owed more to Kracauer than any other contemporary.

The volume brings together for the first time all of Kracauer’s essays on photography that he wrote between 1927 and 1933 as a journalist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, as well as an essay that appeared in the Magazine of Art after his exile in America, where he would spend the last twenty-five years of his life. The texts show Kracauer as a pioneering thinker of the photographic medium in addition to the important historian, and theorist, of film that he is acknowledged to have been. His writings here build a cohesive theory on the affinities between photography, memory and history.

With a foreword by Philippe Despoix offering insights into Kracauer’s theories and the historical context, and a Curriculum vitae in pictures, photographs from the Kracauer estate annotated by Maria Zinfert.

  • photography
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • History of photography
  • media theory
  • film

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Philippe Despoix

Philippe Despoix

is a professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at Université de Montréal and a former director of the Canadian Center for German and European Studies. IFK-Senior Fellow 2009–2010 in Vienna, he has been since 2009 editor-in-chief of Intermédialités, a Canadian journal on the history and theory of the arts, literature and technologies.

Other texts by Philippe Despoix for DIAPHANES
Siegfried Kracauer

Siegfried Kracauer

(born 8 February 1889 in Frankfurt am Main, died 26 November 1966 in New York) was an architect, philosopher, sociologist, journalist, cultural critic and film theorist. From 1922 to 1933 he worked as feuilleton editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, first in Frankfurt and from 1930 in Berlin. With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, Kracauer emigrated to Paris, and then in 1941 to the United States where he eventually became an American citizen in 1946. Following his arrival in New York he began to write in English and the books he wrote in these decades are among his best known:From Caligari to Hitler. A Psychological History of the German Film (1947), Theory of Film. The Redemption of Physical Reality (1960) and History. The Last Things before the Last (1969, ed. Oskar Kristeller).

Other texts by Siegfried Kracauer for DIAPHANES
Maria Zinfert

Maria Zinfert

works in Berlin as a freelance writer, publisher and translator. Her doctoral thesis is on the novels of Victor Segalen, and she has translated many of his texts into German. She is currently doing research into archive photos of 20th-century German-language authors and has already published on the photos from Kracauer’s estate.

Other texts by Maria Zinfert for DIAPHANES