Toward an Antifascist Aesthetic
Knausgaard attempts to reconstruct the emotions of those who were attracted to National Socialism, on grounds that it is impossible to understand “the last major utopian movement in the west” without understanding what moved Germans to embrace Nazism.
August 14, 2020
The Original Wagner
Nowadays it appears mandatory for productions of Richard Wagner’s operas to be produced as bizarrely as possible, and despite the composer’s detailed visual instructions to the contrary. The history of the composer’s original conceptions—primary evidence of which is on view in the Morgan Library & Museum’s “Wagner’s Ring: Forging an Epic”—feels like something of a rediscovery.
February 25, 2016
Hitler vs. Stalin
In the second half of the twentieth century, Americans were taught to see both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as the greatest of evils. Hitler was worse, because his regime propagated the unprecedented horror of the Holocaust, the attempt to eradicate an entire people on racial grounds. Yet Stalin was also worse, because his regime killed far, far more people—tens of millions, it was often claimed—in the endless wastes of the Gulag. For decades, and even today, this confidence about the difference between the two regimes—quality versus quantity—has set the ground rules for the politics of memory.
January 27, 2011