Weimarama

Richard J. Evans

Since its appearance in Germany in 1977, Klaus Theweleit’s psychoanalytical study of fascist literature has graduated from the status of a cult work to that of a classic. Rereading it in English, a decade after my first, rather sceptical perusal, it is easy to see why. Much of what made Theweleit’s book so startlingly original in the mid-Seventies has since become relatively conventional in literary and historical studies, from the Foucaultian analysis of literary discourse, and the exploration of the political history of the human body, to a feminist perspective on sex and power. Yet in the intervening period, the book has not lost its capacity to shock and disturb. Much of its power comes from its author’s unerring eye for the startling quotation. Consider this passage from a novel by Franz Schauwecker which was published in 1929:

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