By Todd Presner
Notwithstanding the background of the German railway approach is usually linked to the transportation of Jews to hard work and dying camps, Todd Presner appears as a substitute to the of entirety of the 1st German railway traces and their function in remapping the cultural geography and highbrow heritage of Germany's Jews. Treating the German railway as either an iconic image of modernity and an important social, technological, and political strength, Presner advances a groundbreaking interpretation of the ways that mobility is inextricably associated with German and Jewish visions of modernity. relocating past the drained version of a failed German-Jewish discussion, Presner emphasizes the mutual entanglement of the very different types of German and Jewish and the numerous websites of touch and trade that happened among German and Jewish thinkers.Turning to philosophy, literature, and the background of expertise, and drawing on transnational cultural and diaspora reports, Presner charts the impact of elevated mobility on interactions among Germans and Jews. He considers such significant figures as Kafka, Heidegger, Arendt, Freud, Sebald, Hegel, and Heine, studying poetry subsequent to philosophy, structure subsequent to literature, and railway maps subsequent to cultural background. instead of a traditional, linear background that culminates within the tragedy of the Holocaust, Presner produces a cultural mapping that articulates a way more complicated tale of the hopes and catastrophes of cellular modernity. by means of targeting the areas of stumble upon emblematically represented via the overdetermined triangulation of Germans, Jews, and trains, he introduces a brand new family tree for the research of eu and German-Jewish modernity. (June 09)
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Additional resources for Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains
As Benjamin suggested in The Arcades Project, a historical materialist must turn to the leftover remains—from architectural achievements to cultural ephemera, from railway stations to works of literature—to offer up the “physiognomy” of an epoch from the perspective of the contingency of the present. The trove of cultural sources under investigation here ranges from travel literature, poetry, philosophy, and photography to railway maps, train schedules, decrepit railway tracks, bombed out stations, and abandoned machinery.
Buried by the jungle of trees and thick shrubbery, I discerned an urban wasteland of trash, industrial debris, and railway tracks. As I continued north for a couple of hundred meters along Möckernstrasse, I arrived at a well-manicured, grassy ﬂatland about the size of a soccer ﬁeld—and found people using it for exactly that purpose. Along the periphery was a group of saplings, outlining the rectangular ﬁeld; in its 32 BERLIN AND DELOS center, at the far end of the ﬁeld, stood the architectural ruins of a portal with three entryways.
With the rejection of developmental models of history, connections cannot be made by chronology; instead, derived from the cultural geography of the railway system, they are made through new constellations of contiguity: Celan’s Berlin is connected to the island of Delos for Heidegger’s travels of memory; Sicily, New York City, and Baranovich Station provide the transnational itinerary for the creation of the German/Jewish subject in Goethe, Kafka, and Sholem Aleichem; the North Sea is the locale for mapping Hegel and Heine’s movements of Spirit; the ﬁrst German railway line between Nuremberg and Fürth is connected to Palestine via the 16 D I A L E C T I C S AT A S TA N D S T I L L national fantasies of Friedrich List and Theodor Herzl; the singularity of Auschwitz represents the site of modernity’s transformation of death for Heidegger and Arendt; ﬁnally, the modern railway system connecting Vienna, Rome, Prague, Antwerp, and Paris is the basis of conceptualizing new practices of representation for Freud and Sebald.