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Framing Attention

, 312 pages

39 halftones

December 2006



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Framing Attention

Windows on Modern German Culture

In Framing Attention, Lutz Koepnick explores different concepts of the window—in both a literal and a figurative sense—as manifested in various visual forms in German culture from the nineteenth century to the present. He offers a new interpretation of how evolving ways of seeing have characterized and defined modernity.

Koepnick examines the role and representation of window frames in modern German culture—in painting, photography, architecture, and literature, on the stage and in public transportation systems, on the film screen and on television. He presents such frames as interfaces that negotiate competing visions of past and present, body and community, attentiveness and distraction. From Adolph Menzel's window paintings of the 1840s to Nam June Paik's experiments with television screens, from Richard Wagner's retooling of the proscenium stage to Adolf Hitler's use of a window as a means of political self-promotion, Framing Attention offers a theoretically incisive understanding of how windows shape and reframe the way we see the world around us and our place within it.

Lutz Koepnick is a professor of German, film, and media studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

"A well-researched, original argument. These case studies tell a fascinating story of how and why our current ways of seeing have evolved over time. Any scholar of the visual (specifically of film, television, and architecture) will want to read this book, whether or not they have studied or have current interest in Germany. It should also be required reading for students of German cultural studies—it’s a different Germany we feel we know after reading the particular synthesis and getting to know the historical characters Koepnick brings together."

"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."

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