Culture in the Anteroom

The Legacies of Siegfried Kracauer
Edited by Gerd Gemünden and Johannes von Moltke
An interdisciplinary approach to Kracauer's body of work


Culture in the Anteroom introduces an English-speaking readership to the full range of Siegfried Kracauer's work as novelist, architect, journalist, sociologist, historian, exile critic, and theorist of visual culture. This interdisciplinary anthology—including pieces from Miriam Bratu Hansen, Andreas Huyssen, Noah Isenberg, Lutz Koepnick, Eric Rentschler, and Heide Schlüpmann—brings together literary and film scholars, historians and art historians, sociologists, and architects to address the scope and current relevance of a body of work dedicated to investigating all aspects of modernism and modernity. The contributors approach Kracauer's writings from a variety of angles, some by placing them in dialogue with his contemporaries in Weimar Germany and the New York Intellectuals of the 1940s and '50s; others by exploring relatively unknown facets of Kracauer's oeuvre by considering his contributions to architectural history, the history of radio as well as other new media, and museum and exhibition culture.

"Culture in the Anteroom offers more than a fresh look at Kracauer's ideas about photography or film or twentieth century German culture by attending to the history of sound and radio as well as new media, urban studies, architecture, and museum and exhibition culture. In the process, this volume also traces Kracauer's thinking through its various phases, stemming from the pre-World War I period through the Weimar years to his exile in France and then in the United States, where he would write his major books on film and history. I know of no other book that covers as much of Kracauer's career (or in as much detail) as this one does, and I am certain that for this reason alone Culture in the Anteroom will garner a large and appreciative audience across the humanities."
—Patrice  Petro, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

"With great insight and intelligence, the essays in Culture in the Anteroom address topics such as urbanism, film study, theory of photography, white collar labor, historiography, and others, and show Kracauer's pertinence for contemporary critical analysis. This volume is not just historical or biographical, and many of the essays wonderfully are about Kracauer's place in ongoing critical thought and his relation to other thinkers, both past and present. The essays are written with rigor and seriousness but never with jargon, and will appeal to anyone interested in Kracauer, in cultural analysis of modernity, and in many areas of his vast contributions to critical thinking."
—Dana Polan, New York University

Cover art: Figures of wrought ironwork by Siegfried Kracauer, from Die Entwicklung der Schmiedekunst (Worms, 1915)

Gerd Gemünden is the Sherman Fairchild Professor of the Humanities at Dartmouth College, where he teaches in the Department of German Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Comparative Literature.

Johannes von Moltke is an Associate Professor of German Studies and Screen Arts & Cultures at the University of Michigan.

Praise / Awards

  • "This is the most current English-language introduction to the full range of Kracauer's work."
    —J.O. Wipplinger, North Carolina State University, Choice

  • "The total of sixteen contributions... present a wonderful variety and cover the full breadth of Kracauer’s writing. These range from the city vignettes that Andreas Huyssen compares to the prose scintillations in Benjamin’s One-Way Street, to Kracauer’s two novels, to his sociology of the 'salaried masses,' his writings for newspapers and magazines—on architecture, media, and on popular entertainment in Weimar Germany—to his books on film in English, and the posthumous book on historiography."

Look Inside

News, Reviews, Interviews

Review Essay | The Nation 12/20/12

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 324pp.
  • 20 illustrations & photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07167-8

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  • $99.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05167-0

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  • $36.95 U.S.

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