Beyond Glitter and Doom
The Contingency of the Weimar Republic

(Munich: iudicium, 2012)

ed. by Jochen Hung, Godela Weiss-Sussex, Geoff Wilkes

The Weimar Republic has received more attention in academic research and popular culture than almost any other period in German history. Nevertheless, its prevailing historical image remains surprisingly simplistic: it is often seen as an era of accelerated cultural progress on the one hand and extreme political unrest, social upheaval and economic crisis on the other, a view epitomized in the ubiquitous image of the ‘dance on the volcano’. The authors gathered in this volume aim to move the discussion beyond this limited dichotomy. Their essays cover a wide range, from Weimar’s legal framework to musical theatre, each challenging hitherto accepted views in its respective field. Despite their thematic range and differences in approach, the contributions are united by the common theme of contingency. They posit the idea of Weimar’s historical ‘openness’, reflected in the period’s pluralism, as a counter-narrative to the image of the first German democracy as a moribund mixture of modernist glitter and socio-economic doom.


Jochen HUNG: Beyond Glitter and Doom. The New Paradigm of Contingency in Weimar Research · Moritz FÖLLMER: Which Crisis? Which Modernity? New Perspectives on Weimar Germany · David MIDGLEY: Beyond the Clichés. On the Specificity of Weimar Culture · Gustav FRANK: Beyond the Republic? Post-Expressionist Complexity in the Arts · Michael DREYER: Weimar as a ‘Militant Democracy’ · Anthony MCELLIGOTT: Rethinking the Weimar Paradigm. Carl Schmitt and Politics without Authority · Jochen HUNG: ‘Der deutschen Jugend!’ The Newspaper Tempo and the Generational Discourse of the Weimar Republic · Florian KROBB: Catholicism, Conservative Revolution and the Fairy Tale. The Case of Wilhelm Matthießen · Jill Suzanne SMITH: Prostitutes in Weimar Berlin. Moving beyond the Victim-Whore Dichotomy · Geoff WILKES: Beneath the Glitter. Berlin, the New Woman and Mass-Market Fiction in Vicki Baum’s Menschen im Hotel · Matthias UECKER: ‘Das Leben […] So ist es und nicht anders.’ Constructions of Normality in Menschen am Sonntag · James A. van DYKE: Felixmüller’s Failure – Painting and Poverty · Nils Grosch: Kurt Weill, Mahagonny and the Commercialization of Berlin Musical Theatre in the Weimar Republic