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Inconceivable EffectsEthics through Twentieth-Century German Literature, Thought, and Film$
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Martin Blumenthal-Barby

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801478123

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801478123.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Inconceivable Effects

Martin Blumenthal-Barby

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the significance of studying different genres such as political theory (Hannah Arendt), fiction (Franz Kafka), cultural criticism (Walter Benjamin), film (Germany in Autumn), and drama (Heiner Müller). The book aims to relate these works through certain political, juridical, and, particularly, ethical questions, as each of them deals with a specific ethical concern within the confines of a “medium.” This medium follows no purpose or goal other than its own mediatic force—that ethical force that forges itself in relation to explicitly discussed conceptions of ethics and displaces them. The links of between genres and media here are of proximity rather than integration, of contact rather than synthesis. The book examines how the differences among media are played out within each work as an inherent conflict of structures.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Germany in Autumn, Heiner Müller, ethics, medium

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