This book is the result of extended attempts to theorize the role of modern mass culture and the aesthetic in German National Socialism. I would like to express my gratitude to the many colleagues and friends whose encouragement and criticism have been essential to the completion of this project. In particular I am indebted to Russell Berman for his intellectual guidance throughout the first stages of this enterprise. I would also like to thank Leslie Adelson, Karen Fiss, Peter Hohendahl, Martin Jay, Michael Jennings, Kurt Mueller-Vollmer, David Pan, Eric Rentschler, and Paul Robinson - all of whom have been helpful beyond measure to rethink halfbaked premises and sharpen individual arguments. Thanks are also due to Douglas Clayton, formerly at the University of Nebraska Press, for his patience and persistent support throughout the process of getting this book finished, and to Dennis Marshall, who carefully copyedited the book for publication.
Several institutions have contributed to this project. During the earlier stages, both the Stanford Humanities Center (1992-93) and the Whiting Foundation (1993-94) provided important resources for my research. I also owe gratitude to the German Department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University for the support that made the writing and rewriting of this book possible.
Portions of this project appeared in embryonic form in previously published articles. For their permission to make use of these materials, I would like to acknowledge Critical Inquiry, for “The Spectacle, the Trauerspiel, and the Politics of Resolution: Benjamin Reading the Baroque Reading Weimar, " 22.2 (1996): 268-91; and Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, for “Allegory and Power: Walter Benjamin and the Politics of Representation, " 79.1-2 (1996): 59-78.
Christa Johnson has read and commented on every line of the many drafts of this project. Without her unswerving support - intellectual and otherwise - Walter Ben jamin and the Aesthetics of Powerwould simply not have been possible.
I dedicate this book to my parents, Eva-Maria and Horst Köpnick.