Totalitarianism on Screen
The Art and Politics of The Lives of Others
Contributions by Lauren Weiner, Paul A. Cantor, Dirk Johnson, James F. Pontuso, Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, Manfred Wilke, Wolf Biermann, Paul Hockenos, Peter Grieder, F. Flagg Taylor, IV, Carl Eric Scott and Jens Gieseke
In Totalitarianism on Screen, political theorists Carl Eric Scott and F. Flagg Taylor IV assemble top scholars to analyze the film from philosophical and political perspectives. Their essays confront the nature and legacy of East Germany's totalitarian government and outline the reasons why such regimes endure.
Other than magazine and newspaper reviews, little has been written about The Lives of Others. This volume brings German scholarship on the topic to an English-speaking audience for the first time and explores the issue of government surveillance at a time when the subject is often front-page news. Featuring contributions from German president Joachim Gauck, prominent singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann, journalists Paul Hockenos and Lauren Weiner, and noted scholars Paul Cantor and James Pontuso, Totalitarianism on Screen contributes to the growing scholarship on totalitarianism and will interest historians, political theorists, philosophers, and fans of the film.
About the Authors
F. Flagg Taylor IV is associate professor of government at Skidmore College. He is the editor of The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism.
"An exciting collection of analyses about one of the most impressive political films of our times. Scholars, journalists, human rights activists and public intellectuals explore The Lives of the Others as a most persuasive and disquieting way to grasp the invisible means securing the totalitarian domination over the individual. I have presented the film to my students in courses on dictatorship and film. This outstanding book will be a perfect companion each time I teach this course again."—Vladimir Tismaneanu, author The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century
"Totalitarianism on Screen explores the richness of The Lives of Others in brilliant fashion. Carl Scott and Flagg Taylor have set a new standard for English-language scholarship on one of the most influential German films in the post-war era."—Gary Bruce, author of The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi
"The essays assembled in Totalitarianism on Screen deftly explore the strange world of post-totalitarianism, the world of drabness, conformity, surveillance and mendacity that marked the final decades of communist totalitarian rule. They expose communist moral corruption even as they reveal the 'redemptive power of art' through learned, searching, and accessible treatments of the now classic film The Lives of Others. This is scholarship that speaks to the human soul and to the ultimate limits of all efforts to squelch liberty and the spontaneity of human life."—Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College
Other Titles by Paul A. Cantor