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Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany

Bernd Widdig (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 293 pages
ISBN: 9780520222908
March 2001
$63.00, £53.00
For many Germans the hyperinflation of 1922 to 1923 was one of the most decisive experiences of the twentieth century. In his original and authoritative study, Bernd Widdig investigates the effects of that inflation on German culture during the Weimar Republic. He argues that inflation, with its dynamics of massification, devaluation, and the rapid circulation of money, is an integral part of modern culture and intensifies and condenses the experience of modernity in a traumatic way.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. Money Matters: Culture and Inflation

PART ONE: History and Experience
2. Flirting with Disaster: The German Inflation, 1914-1923
3. Daily Explosions: Canetti’s Inflation

4. Under the Sign of Zero: Money and Inflation

5. Uncanny Encounters: Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler
6. Visions of Work: Hugo Stinnes and His Doubles

PART FOUR: Accounts
7. Cultural Capital in Decline: Inflation and the Distress of Intellectuals
8. Witches Dancing: Gender and Inflation

PART FIVE: Epilogue
9. Aftershocks: Inflation, National Socialism, and Beyond

Bernd Widdig is Associate Professor of German Studies and Director of the MIT-Germany Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Männerbünde und Massen: Zur Krise männlicher Identität in der Literatur der Moderne(1992).
"A landmark study. . . . Widdig's energetic account uses an interdisciplinary approach to reveal how economic anxieties were powerfully symptomatic of larger social and cultural issues."—Maria Tatar, author of Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany

"Bernd Widdig displays sharp intelligence and uncommon wit in this brilliant study of culture and inflation. Following the explosions in politics and culture that the inflation detonated from the end of World War I to the rise of the Nazis, this book is a bold and original meditation on modernity and money and the trauma of oblivion. It is a masterful, illuminating analysis."—Peter Fritzsche, author of Reading Berlin 1900

"Widdig's account of the cultural impact of the German hyperinflation adds an important dimension to the history of interwar Germany. He brings a unique perspective to the interaction between popular culture and political and economic decisions in the twentieth century. This fascinating book raises intriguing questions for economic and political historians."—Peter Temin, author of Lessons from the Great Depression

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