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The Aesthetics of Resistance, Volume 1: A Novel Paperback – June 22, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Aesthetics of Resistance is centrally important to any kind of assessment of twentieth-century German history.”—James Rolleston, editor of A Companion to the Works of Franz Kafka


“[The Aesthetics of Resistance] . . . which [Peter Weiss] began when he was well over fifty, making a pilgrimage over the arid slopes of cutlural and contemporary history in the company of pavor nocturnus, the terror of the night, and laden with a monstrous weight of ideological ballast, is a magnum opus which sees itself . . . not only as the expression of an ephemeral wish for redemption, but as an expression of the will to be on the side of the victims at the end of time.”—W. G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction


"The Aesthetics of Resistance writes those who have been culturally and historically excluded back into the story of their time and demands—as modernism does—that we learn to read in a new way. . . . The monuments of modernism today rise like Ozymandias’ statue in the sand: Ulysses, Proust, Beckett, Pound’s Cantos, The Making of Americans, The Waste Land. At last, we have an English translation of a work that stands alongside them."
(Robert Buckeye, Review of Contemporary Fiction)

"[O]ne of the most significant works of postwar German literature. . . . The novel feels like an endless soliloquy on a bare stage, but one that takes the audience on the most amazingly imaginative time-and-space journey, with the narrative perspective cutting like a movie director's camera from one intensely rendered visual detail to the next. . . . [E]xhilaratingly strange, compelling, and original. Readers who dare to enter this demanding verbal landscape will not come away empty-handed."
(Mark M. Anderson, Bookforum)

About the Author

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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Product Details

  • Series: Aesthetics of Resistance
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (June 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822335468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822335467
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joey Fiore on May 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I agree with the first reviewer: this is one of the great books of the 20th century. Also an excellent translator. As for the question about the other volumes: this one only took 30 years to get translated! It's not likely to be a big hit in the English-speaking market; too Marxist, I suppose. Thanks to Duke Univ. Press for making this volume available. I have to think that if they're going to go ahead and call this volume 1, then vols. 2 & 3 must be forthcoming.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Greenberg on September 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I think that to read only the first volume of this novel, as staggeringly impressive as it is, is to miss much of what this novel has to offer for political and social thought. This novel does not operate on the Hegelian principle of "the part contains the whole." Rather, there is a genuine learning process - an openness to futurity, one might say. Weiss designed a certain "lack" into the early parts of this novel that would only be answered by the full development. Thoughts change with events.

People have asked when volume two will appear in English. Hopefully, around this time in 2013. You can message me if you have questions.

Added after the initial posting: I'm reading the famous interview with Weiss from Die Zeit, in which he said that the reader is given the same difficulty that the author himself had in writing the book. I think this is an important clue to "understanding" The Aesthetics of Resistance. The interviewer asked about the difficulties of the introduction of unknown historical figures, artworks, unknown debates. But Weiss, far from being an elitist, is pointing out that it is the task of the reader, when confronted with the unknown, to come to try to understand it. And, unlike, say, Ulysses or the stories of Borges, the book offers everything you need to understand it, as long as you're careful and patient.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rude Ingenue on March 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a staggering, amazing novel -- I scarcely know what to say beyond that -- but i was hoping someone could help me find out when further volumes are to be expected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stanley aronowitz on February 23, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We yearn for the final two volumes of this great work. The translation is superb, but the problem is that without the further translations, tragically incomplete.
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