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Difference and OrientationAn Alexander Kluge Reader$
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Alexander Kluge and Richard Langston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739200

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739200.001.0001

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The Guardian of Difference

The Guardian of Difference

The Essayist Alexander Kluge

(p.3) The Guardian of Difference
Difference and Orientation

Richard Langston

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of the essayist Alexander Kluge. Born in 1932 in the central German city of Halberstadt, the German polymath Alexander Kluge is certainly known both at home and abroad for wearing many hats. Above all, his career as one of New German Cinema's most cerebral filmmakers still commands international acclaim. First and foremost a writer of stories, Kluge returned to writing in earnest in 2000 and has generated since then an astonishing complex corpus of storybooks that has grown more than twice the size of what he published during his first robust literary phase. A filmmaker, author, and television producer, Kluge is, however, more than just the sum of this triumvirate. He is also recognized as a trained musician and lawyer, an accomplished theorist with roots in the Frankfurt School, a savvy media activist and entrepreneur, and a celebrated public intellectual of the highest stature. Kluge is also arguably one of Germany's great essayists of the late twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Collected in the present volume are twenty-eight examples of Kluge's essayistic thinking that attest to his long-standing commitment to “intellectual freedom.” The chapter then looks at the concepts of difference and orientation, which are recurrent themes throughout all of Kluge's thought.

Keywords:   Alexander Kluge, polymath, New German Cinema, media activist, public intellectual, essayistic thinking, difference, orientation

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