The Long Century’s Long Shadow: Weimar Cinema and the Romantic Modern
Published: June 2021© 2021
288 Pages, 6.20 x 9.10 x 1.10 in, 54 b&w illustrations
The Long Century’s Long Shadow approaches German Romanticism and Weimar cinema as continuous developments, enlisting both in a narrative of reciprocal illumination. The author investigates different moments and media as connected phenomena, situated at alternate ends of the "long nineteenth century" but joined by their mutual rejection of the neo-classical aesthetic standard of placid and weightless poise in numerous media, including film, painting, sculpture, prose, poetry, and dance.
Connecting Weimar filmmaking to Romantic thought and practice, Kenneth S. Calhoon offers a non-technological, aesthetic genealogy of cinema. He focuses on well-known literary and artistic works, including films such as Nosferatu, Metropolis, Frankenstein, and Fantasia; the writings of Conrad, Kafka, Goethe, and Novalis; and the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, one of the leading artists of German Romanticism. With an eye to the modernism of which Weimar filmmaking was a part, The Long Century’s Long Shadow employs the Romantic landscape in poetry and painting as a mirror in which to regard cinema.
1. Empathy Begets Abstraction
2. Under the Sign of Insomnia
4. A Pause in the Action
5. Facing the Image
6. Necessary Advances
Epilogue: Music of the Third Kind
"The study would be of interest to advanced scholars of Weimar cinema well-read in the German and European aesthetic traditions of the nineteenth century. Its richness demands a patient reader, but one who will no doubt be left inspired by what comparative media studies affords to cinema studies."Ervin Malakaj, University of British Columbia, EuropeNow
"The Long Century’s Long Shadow is a book that stays with one well after reading it. A luminous, fascinating, and deeply researched examination of the entwinement of Romanticism and modernism in German cinema of the Weimar period; Calhoon brings aesthetic intensity, historical range, and cinematic detail back into our understanding of the overall picture."Keya Ganguly, Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
"Contrasting Weimar film classics with rigorous and wide-ranging interpretations of poetry, literature, painting, and sculpture spanning from Caspar David Friedrich to Disney’s Fantasia, The Long Century’s Long Shadow provides a highly original approach to German cultural history."Gerd Gemünden, Sherman Fairchild Professor of the Humanities and Professor of German Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College