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The Forces of Form in German Modernism

The Forces of Form in German Modernism

By Malika Maskarinec 

"This book makes a significant contribution to the study of German modernism, and it does so by straddling the fields of art history and literary and cultural studies. Its balance of theoretical acumen and historical erudition is impressive, as is its original, interdisciplinary combination of themes and material." —Eric Downing, author of The Chain of Things: Divinatory Magic and the Practice of Reading in German Literature and Thought, 1850-1940

The Forces of Form in German Modernism charts a modern history of form as emergent from force. Offering a provocative alternative to the imagery of crisis and estrangement that has preoccupied scholarship on modernism, Malika Maskarinec shows that German modernism conceives of human bodies and aesthetic objects as shaped by a contest of conflicting and reciprocally intensifying forces: the force of gravity and a self-determining will to form. Maskarinec thereby discloses, for the first time, German modernism's sustained preoccupation with classical mechanics and with how human bodies and artworks resist gravity. 

Considering canonical artists such as Rodin and Klee, seminal authors such as Kafka and Döblin, and largely neglected thinkers in aesthetics and art history such as those associated with Empathy Aesthetics, Maskarinec unpacks the manifold anthropological and aesthetic concerns and historical lineage embedded in the idea of form as the precarious achievement of uprightness.

The Forces of Form in German Modernism makes a decisive contribution to our understanding of modernism and to contemporary discussions about form, empathy, materiality, and human embodiment.

Paperback
240 pages
Northwestern University Press, 2018
6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
ISBN 9780810137691
Modernism, Art History

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