The Pen Confronts the Sword

Exiled German Scholars Challenge Nazism

Avihu Zakai
eISBN-13: 9781438471655

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During 1942, the decisive battles of Stalingrad and El Alamein raged and the Nazi genocide was at its lethal peak. The Pen Confronts the Sword examines the shared motives behind four remarkable texts German exiles began writing that year: Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus (1947); Ernst Cassirer's The Myth of the State (1946); Erich Auerbach's Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946); and Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944). Each identified a specific danger in Nazi ideology and mustered new theories, approaches, and sources to combat it. The books aimed to expose the encompassing catastrophes of German culture (Mann), politics (Cassirer), philology (Auerbach), and philosophy and sociology (Horkheimer and Adorno). Their scope, mastery, and sense of urgency constitute a comprehensive Kulturkampf (culture war) against Nazi barbarism. Avihu Zakai cogently analyzes each work, explains the context of its creation, and draws connections between these four landmark books in Western intellectual history.

ISBNs 9781438471631, 1438471653, 9781438471655
Language English
Number of Pages 374