About face: E. T. A. Hoffmann, Weimar film, and the technological afterlife of gothic physiognomy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay considers the return of the gothic through two historical periods in which it might appear to be out of place in cultural ideological terms. The first is the Biedermeierzeit, an epoch that overlapped with the culture of late romanticism but was fundamentally resistant to its more fantastic and darkly sensational aspects. The second is the Weimar Republic, a period under the sway of technological modernity and not, at face value, fertile ground for gothic haunting. In fact, the restoration culture of the Biedermeierzeit played host to some extraordinarily potent and subversive gothic fantasies, and a century later, in the first years of the Weimar Republic, these apparently anachronistic fantasies came back to life at a further historical remove from their origins. In the retro-fantasies of early Weimar film, we can see the face of late romantic literary fantasy as popular revenant, inhabiting the reconstructed world of the Biedermeierzeit through the projective (and also retrospective) possibilities of the new medium. Looking back toward the gothic fantasies of E. T. A. Hoffmann in particular, it is a face that carried the features, at once uncannily strange and familiar, of the doppelgänger. In my 1996 study of the doppelgänger I followed a track from writing and visual art around the era of romanticism to modernism and early cinema in an argument that saw this paradigmatic figure of the gothic imagination as a compelling, serial revenant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPopular Revenants: The German Gothic and its International Reception, 1800-2000
PublisherBoydell and Brewer Ltd
Pages161-180
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781571138279, 1571135197, 9781571135193
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Afterlife
Weimar
Gothic
E.T.A. Hoffmann
Fantasy
Physiognomy
Weimar Republic
Romanticism
Restoration
Cultural Terms
New Media
Modernity
Paradigmatics
Haunting
Early Cinema
Historical Periods
Retro

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Webber, A. (2010). About face: E. T. A. Hoffmann, Weimar film, and the technological afterlife of gothic physiognomy. In Popular Revenants: The German Gothic and its International Reception, 1800-2000 (pp. 161-180). Boydell and Brewer Ltd.

About face : E. T. A. Hoffmann, Weimar film, and the technological afterlife of gothic physiognomy. / Webber, Andrew.

Popular Revenants: The German Gothic and its International Reception, 1800-2000. Boydell and Brewer Ltd, 2010. p. 161-180.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Webber, A 2010, About face: E. T. A. Hoffmann, Weimar film, and the technological afterlife of gothic physiognomy. in Popular Revenants: The German Gothic and its International Reception, 1800-2000. Boydell and Brewer Ltd, pp. 161-180.
Webber A. About face: E. T. A. Hoffmann, Weimar film, and the technological afterlife of gothic physiognomy. In Popular Revenants: The German Gothic and its International Reception, 1800-2000. Boydell and Brewer Ltd. 2010. p. 161-180
Webber, Andrew. / About face : E. T. A. Hoffmann, Weimar film, and the technological afterlife of gothic physiognomy. Popular Revenants: The German Gothic and its International Reception, 1800-2000. Boydell and Brewer Ltd, 2010. pp. 161-180
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