Tag: Brecht

Reader’s Report

“i sent a piece about hitler to Reader’s Digest (sales 3.5 million) for their series ‘my most unforgettable character’. it came back very promptly. feuchtwanger tells me thomas mann and werfel, who has been very successful here, had their contributions sent back too. the magazine submits readers’ contributions to half a dozen experts. one checks whether the thing is brown, a second whether it stinks, a third that there are no solid lumps in it etc. that is how strictly it is checked to see that it is real shit before they accept it.” —Brecht, Journals, 04/21/42

How to win literary prizes

In 1941, Hella Wuolijoki, an Estonian-born Finnish writer and friend of Brecht’s, submitted a play to a literary competition in Finland. She didn’t win the prize. Brecht’s explanation? “she didn’t lobby. as if it weren’t the best things that most need publicity, intrigue and manipulation…” Update (7:30 pm) As someone pointed out in the comments thread, the play Wuloijoki submitted may actually have been a play Brecht wrote or wrote in collaboration with her. A little confusing from the journal entry itself.

The History of Fear, Part 1

Long before I was writing or thinking about the right, I was writing and thinking about politics and fear. That project began as a dissertation in the early 1990s and concluded with my first book Fear: The History of a Political Idea, which was published in 2004. When I embarked upon the project, few in the American academy were interested in fear; by the time I finished it, everyone, it seemed, was. What had happened in the intervening years, of course, was 9/11. Fear is divided into two parts: the first is an intellectual history of fear, examining how theorists from Thomas Hobbes through Judith Shklar have thought about the problem; the second offers my own analysis of fear, drawing […]

Nietzsche, the Jews, and other obsessions

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I now have a Tumblr, where I post the short and sweet. Some themes seem to be emerging there, so I thought I might share them here.  One has to do with Nietzsche, the other with all things Jewish (Israel, the Holocaust, etc.) On Nietzsche, I’ve pursued my ongoing obsession with the relationship between his critique of value and the rise of marginal economics, particularly the Austrian School. One of my underlying questions is how does Nietzsche relate to libertarianism (beyond the fact that an inordinate number of adolescents seem to have cut their teeth on both topics simultaneously), a subject I’m writing about now and hope to be publishing in the near […]