Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century

A Surrealist History
Princeton University Press
  • 1. Auflage
  • |
  • erschienen am 9. November 2021
  • |
  • 624 Seiten
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe-DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-1-4008-6544-4 (ISBN)

The story of modernity told through a cultural history of twentieth-century Prague

Setting out to recover the roots of modernity in the boulevards, interiors, and arcades of the "city of light," Walter Benjamin dubbed Paris "the capital of the nineteenth century." In this eagerly anticipated sequel to his acclaimed Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History, Derek Sayer argues that Prague could well be seen as the capital of the much darker twentieth century. Ranging across twentieth-century Prague's astonishingly vibrant and always surprising human landscape, this richly illustrated cultural history describes how the city has experienced (and suffered) more ways of being modern than perhaps any other metropolis.

Located at the crossroads of struggles between democratic, communist, and fascist visions of the modern world, twentieth-century Prague witnessed revolutions and invasions, national liberation and ethnic cleansing, the Holocaust, show trials, and snuffed-out dreams of "socialism with a human face." Yet between the wars, when Prague was the capital of Europe's most easterly parliamentary democracy, it was also a hotbed of artistic and architectural modernism, and a center of surrealism second only to Paris.

Focusing on these years, Sayer explores Prague's spectacular modern buildings, monuments, paintings, books, films, operas, exhibitions, and much more. A place where the utopian fantasies of the century repeatedly unraveled, Prague was tailor-made for surrealist André Breton's "black humor," and Sayer discusses the way the city produced unrivaled connoisseurs of grim comedy, from Franz Kafka and Jaroslav Hasek to Milan Kundera and Václav Havel. A masterful and unforgettable account of a city where an idling flaneur could just as easily be a secret policeman, this book vividly shows why Prague can teach us so much about the twentieth century and what made us who we are.

  • Englisch
  • Princeton
  • |
  • USA
De Gruyter
  • Für Beruf und Forschung
  • Digitale Ausgabe
  • Reflowable
  • 54 halftones. 8 line illus.
  • |
  • 54 halftones. 8 line illus.
978-1-4008-6544-4 (9781400865444)
weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Derek Sayer is Professor of Cultural History at Lancaster University and a former Canada Research Chair at the University of Alberta. His previous books include The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History (Princeton) and Capitalism and Modernity. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
  • Cover Page
  • Half-title Page
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication Page
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Translation and Pronunciation
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Starry Castle Opens
  • The Surrealist Situation of the Object
  • A Choice of Abdications
  • 2. Zone
  • Le passant de Prague
  • This Little Mother Has Claws
  • The Time of Ardent Reason
  • The Hangman and the Poet
  • Tongues Come to Life
  • 3. Metamorphoses
  • The Origin of Robots
  • A Beautiful Garden Next Door to History
  • Suicide Lane
  • Franz Kafka's Dream
  • Do You Speak German? Are You a Jew?
  • Fantasy Land. Entry 1 Crown
  • The Precious Legacy
  • 4. Modernism in the Plural
  • Alfons Mucha, Steel and Concrete
  • The Ghosts of Futures Past
  • From the Window of the Grand Café Orient
  • Granny's Valley
  • The Electric Century
  • All the Beauties of the World
  • 5. Body Politic
  • The Silent Woman
  • The Poetry of Future Memories
  • Renaissance Ballet
  • Beautiful Ideas That Kill
  • Sexual Nocturne
  • Cut with a Kitchen Knife
  • A War Economy, Words of Command, and Gas
  • 6. On the Edge of an Abyss
  • The Beautiful Gardener
  • The Bride Stripped Bare
  • Gulping for Air and Violence
  • Orders of Things
  • L'origine du monde
  • Dreams of Venus
  • A Girl with a Baton
  • 7. Love's Boat Shattered against Everyday Life
  • A National Tragedy with Pretty Legs
  • The Poet Assassinated
  • A Wall as Thick as Eternity
  • Didier Desroches
  • Am I Not Right, Jan Hus?
  • Messalina's Shoulder in the Gaslight
  • That Familiar White Darkness
  • 8. The Gold of Time
  • The Necromancer's Junk Room
  • The Prague-Paris Telephone
  • The Dancing House
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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