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The Total Work of Art: Foundations, Articulations, Inspirations

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Volume 12

Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association

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The Total Work of Art

Foundations, Articulations, Inspirations

Edited by David Imhoof, Margaret Eleanor Menninger, and Anthony J. Steinhoff

300 pages, 5 figures, 1 table, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-184-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2016)

ISBN  978-1-80073-017-5 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (August 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78533-185-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Contributors are deft in negotiating and teasing out how aspects of the Gesamtkunstwerk shaped the German cultural landscape and at the same time mirrored the changing nature of politics and consumerism. This collection will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians interested in all aspects of German culture.” • Choice


For two centuries, Gesamtkunstwerk—the ideal of the “total work of art”—has exerted a powerful influence over artistic discourse and practice, spurring new forms of collaboration and provoking debates over the political instrumentalization of art. Despite its popular conflation with the work of Richard Wagner, Gesamtkunstwerk’s lineage and legacies extend well beyond German Romanticism, as this wide-ranging collection demonstrates. In eleven compact chapters, scholars from a variety of disciplines trace the idea’s evolution in German-speaking Europe, from its foundations in the early nineteenth century to its manifold articulations and reimaginings in the twentieth century and beyond, providing an uncommonly broad perspective on a distinctly modern cultural form.

David Imhoof is Professor of History at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Bloomsbury Press recently published his textbook So, About Modern Europe: A Conversational History from the Enlightenment to the Present. He is the author of Becoming a Nazi Town (Michigan, 2013) and co-editor of a special edition of Colloquia Germanica (2016) on sound studies. He is currently writing a history of the German record industry. Imhoof also directs the Music and Sound Studies Network for the German Studies Association.

Margaret Eleanor Menninger is Associate Professor of History at Texas State University and Executive Director of the German Studies Association. She has published on the history of cultural philanthropy in both the United States and Germany and was a contributor to The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia. Her forthcoming book is entitled A Serious Matter and True Joy: Philanthropy, the Arts, and the State in Nineteenth-Century Leipzig.

Anthony J. Steinhoff is Associate Professor of History at the Université du Québec à Montréal. A specialist in modern German and French cultural and social history, he is the author of The Gods of the City: Protestantism and Religious Culture in Strasbourg, 1870-1914 (Brill, 2008) and the translator of Rita Kuczynski’s Mauerblume: Ein Leben auf der Grenze (Wall Flower: A Life on the German Border; University of Toronto Press, 2015). He is currently writing a cultural history of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal and operatic culture in German-speaking Europe in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Subject: History (General)Cultural Studies (General)Performance Studies
Area: Europe


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