By Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Edited via Reinhold Grimm and Bruce Armstrong
Foreword: John Simon vii
Introduction: Reinhold Grimm xi
Part One : Literature and the Media 1
1. The Industrialization of the brain 3
Translated by way of the author
2. Poetry and Politics 15
Translated via Michael Roloff
3. Commonplaces at the most modern Literature 35
Translated through Michael Roloff
4. ingredients of a concept of the Media forty six
Translated through Stuart Hood
Part : Politics and background 77
Translated by way of Michael Roloff
1. towards a idea of Treason 79
2. Reflections ahead of a Glass Cage 94
3. Las Casas, or A glance again into the destiny 116
4. Berlin Commonplaces 138
Part 3 : Sociology and Ecology 157
1. travelers of the Revolution 159
Translated through Michael Roloff
2. A Critique of Political Ecology 186
Translated by means of Stuart Hood
3. On the Inevitability of thie heart Classes:
A Sociological Caprice 224
Translated by means of Judith Ryan
4. Notes on the tip of the realm 233
Translated by way of David Fernbach
Read Online or Download Critical Essays (The German Library, Volume 98) PDF
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But what we have learned from the example of the eulogy of the ruler holds true in this instance too. The results can be classified under battle songs and marching songs, poster rhymes and hymns, propaganda chants and manifestoes in verse— irrespective of whose or what interests they are intended to promote. Either they are useless for the pur poses of those who commission them or they have nothing to do with poetry. No national anthem written in the twentieth century is a legitimate poem; it is impossible to write such an anthem.
Henceforth poetry disclosed the reverse side of that power to found and secure that it had been demonstrating since the days of Virgil— that reverse side that its patrons had always mistrusted and secretly feared: instead of the power to found, the power to shatter and overthrow; instead of affirmation, criticism. This turning point manifests itself in the cri sis of the eulogy of the ruler. Goethe did not entirely abstain from writing traditional court poetry. He undertook it as an exercise. The smooth, cold, humble verses he addressed to ruling princes (to the emperor and empress of Austria, for instance) betray no emotion, unless it be secret con tempt; he did not include one of them in the definitive edition of his works, the Ausgabe letzter Hand.
Christianity, feudalism, absolute monarchy, capital ism, fascism, and communism have all adapted Plato’s doctrine; even in our own day and in the freest countries not a month goes by in which poetry is not put on trial, according to the Platonic prescription, for blasphemy, licentiousness, or as a danger to the state. In fact, this trial has lasted since Plato’s day, and the variety of works incriminated proves that the trial was initiated not against this or that individual poem, but against poetry as a whole.