April 22, 2015

Andreas Huyssen Reading At Labyrinth April 23

andreas labyrinthAndreas Huyssen will read  from his new book Miniature Metropolis: Literature in the Age of Photography and Film (Harvard Univ. Press $39.95) at Labyrinth Books on Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m.

Mr. Huyssen shows how writers from Baudelaire and Kafka to Benjamin, Musil, and Adorno created the metropolitan miniature to record their reflections of Paris, Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, and Los Angeles. Contesting photography and film as competing media, the metropolitan miniature sought to capture the “visceral feeling of acceleration and compression that defined urban existence. But the form did not merely imitate visual media, it absorbed them, condensing objective and subjective perceptions into the very structure of language and text and asserting the aesthetic specificity of literary language without resort to visual illustration.”  The author argues that the miniature subverted the expectations of transparency, easy understanding, and entertainment that mass circulation newspapers depended upon.

According to Anthony Kaes, University of California, Berkeley, “This book will serve as an invaluable guide to the wide variety of miniature writings that emerged in the modern age. Huyssen’s close readings of these literary gems highlight the ways in which they responded to new modes of sensory experience. A brilliant study of literature in the era of visual media.”

Andreas Huyssen is professor of German and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory; After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism; Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia; and Other Cities, Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Globalizing Age.