On the subjects of philosophy, society, biographies, literary + cultural history

Jörg Später
Siegfried Kracauer. Eine Biographie

© Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016 Jörg Später: Siegfried Kracauer. Eine Biographie © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016Kracauer was a physiognomist, an expert on pictures and any “surface appearances“, which he opened up to his readers using the tools of a phenomenologically-inspired cultural philosophy. The truth that Kracauer’s texts seek is evident; one has to want to see it, however, and, if one is a philosopher, one also has to be able to say what one can see.
Kracauer, who has gained some skill in this field, was self-taught. Although he regularly attended Georg Simmel’s lectures in Berlin when he was a young man, and although he corresponded with Theodor W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin for decades, he was not a philosopher in the academic sense of the word. An architecture graduate, he wrote for major newspapers for many years, was a writer appreciated by critics and a film theory pioneer. Common to all this committed literary work was his ability to discern the ideas dominating peoples’ minds here and now from the “inconspicuous facts" that “make up the surface of life”.
As well as all that, Kracauer was also a biographer. In exile in Paris, this literary all-rounder wrote Jacques Offenbach’s “biography of a society” and in so doing laid down the measure and standard for his own biography. Let it be said right from the start that Jörg Später, the historian who has now taken up this challenge, masters his task brilliantly.

Ralf Konersmann: „Ein Philosoph, der sich mit den vorletzten Dingen bescheidet“
© Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 November 2016

Jörg Später
Siegfried Kracauer. Eine Biographie
Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016
ISBN 9783518425725
741 pages

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