Archaeologies of Modernity

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3111-8

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3112-5

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3110-1
Publication Date
June 2015
Page Count
344 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Archaeologies of Modernity

Avant-Garde Bildung
Rainer Rumold

Archaeologies of Modernity explores the shift from the powerful tradition of literary forms of Bildung—the education of the individual as the self—to the visual forms of “Bildung” (from Bild) that characterize German modernism and the European avant-garde. Interrelated chapters examine the work of Franz Kafka, Jean/Hans Arp, Walter Benjamin, and Carl Einstein, and of artists such as Oskar Kokoschka or Kurt Schwitters, in the light of the surge of an autoformation (Bildung) of verbal and visual images at the core of expressionist and surrealist aesthetics and the art that followed. In this first scholarly focus on modernist avant-garde Bildung in its entwinement of conceptual modernity with forms of the archaic, Rumold resituates the significance of the poet and art theorist Einstein and his work on the language of primitivism and the visual imagination. Archaeologies of Modernity is a major reconsideration of the conception of the modernist project and will be of interest to scholars across the disciplines.

About the Author

RAINER RUMOLD is a professor emeritus of German literature and critical thought at Northwestern University. His previous books include monographs on Helmut Heissenbuettel and Gottfried Benn;  Eugene Jolas’s autobiography, Man from Babel,  edited with Andreas Kramer; The Janus Face of the German Avant-Garde: From Expressionism toward Postmodernism (Northwestern, 2001); and Eugene Jolas: Critical Writings, 1924–1951, edited with Klaus H. Kiefer (Northwestern, 2009).

"Recommended." —CHOICE

"Rumold's encyclopedic knowledge of European modernism allows him to draw connections among a diverse group of thinkers and creative figures, who are seldom treated together within a single study... on the whole, his book is a thought-provoking review of the German historical avant-garde." —Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies