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Georges Didi-Huberman Shane Lillis
Common Knowledge, Volume 18, Issue 1, Winter 2012, pp. 50-78 (Article)
Published by Duke University Press
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WARBURG’S HAUNTED HOUSE
Translated by Shane Lillis
We could legitimately regard the Mnemosyne Atlas of Aby Warburg as a tool for “sampling,” by means of juxtaposed images, the chaos of history. It would be a matter of producing, through the atlas’s black plates studded with ﬁgures of all kinds, transverse- and cross-sections of chaos, en route to ﬁnding new ways of thinking about social and cultural temporality. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari give us a language in which to index the philosophical power and audaciousness — the “superior empiricism” — of Warburg’s project: “It is always a matter of defeating chaos by a secant plane that crosses it,” they write, adding that “it is as if one were casting a net, but the ﬁsherman always risks being swept away and ﬁnding himself in the open sea.”1 In other words, Warburg’s aptitude for the astra (concepts) always brought him in proximity to the monstra (chaos).
An earlier version of this text appears as part of an essay, “Atlas, or the Anxious Gay Science,” published in the catalog of the exhibition Atlas: How to Carry the World on One’s Back, organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (November 26, 2010 – March 28, 2011) in collaboration with Sammlung Falckenberg of Hamburg and ZKM Museum für Neue Kunst of Karlsruhe.
1. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 203.
Common Knowledge 18:1 DOI 10.1215/0961754X-1456881 English translation © 2010 by Shane B. Lillis
Caught in the pincers between his intellectual ambition — which was to forge a Kulturwissenschaft encompassing every human science in one historical discipline — and the intrinsic modesty of his attention to singular cases and the details of philological erudition, Warburg’s project can be understood only in terms of its aims. The Mnemosyne Atlas stands between two horizons that its author evoked or invoked, without ever, or almost ever, naming them. Further back up the line, we ﬁnd the horizon of the Enlightenment and its Romantic turning point: Goya, or rather Baudelaire speaking about Goya, from the perspective of his “sampling of chaos” — though it is Goethe, ﬁnally, whose notion of afﬁnity opened up ways to rethink the practices of observing, anthologizing, cross-checking, and collecting that would be used in Warburg’s atlas.2 Further down the line, among Warburg’s contemporaries who were (more or less) unknown to him, we have August Sander with his atlas, Face of Our Time, Walter Benjamin with his “dialectical images,” and Sigmund Freud with his magisterial way of envisaging the power of the monstra.3 All of these, and others as well at that time, sampled chaos and retrieved visual sections from it, in the way that an archaeologist exhumes evidence in packets that are then made visible on what Deleuze has termed planes of consistency (or immanence).4 It was in this spirit that Goya, through the power of his etchings, inscribed Disparates, Caprichos, and Desastres across the pediment of modernity. The Disparates demonstrate the art of sampling the dispars — chaos in space. Warburg does so too (and includes the playful or Witz dimension of chaos) when he risks bringing together, on the same plate, a sarcophagus and an aerial photograph, a dancing nymph and a dying old man, a small bronze coin and a triumphal arch, a bust of a child and a souterrain arranged for sacriﬁces, a biblical scene and an anatomy lesson, the monument to Hindenburg and an advertisement for toilet paper.5 Warburg’s practice pursues the kind of knowledge obtainable through montage — the nonstandard kind recommended, practiced, and theorized in the same period by Benjamin in his Arcades and Georges Bataille in his journal Documents.6 The Mnemosyne Atlas, moreover, could be leafed through as a collection of Caprichos, presented explicitly as a sampling of the chaos in individual psyches and collective imaginations. There are almost as many “monsters of reason” in Warburg’s atlas as there are in Goya’s series: fearsome divinities of the ancient
2. Charles Baudelaire, Selected Writings on Art and Literature, trans. Patrice Edouard Charvet (London: Penguin, 2006), 237. 3. August Sander, Face of Our Time (Munich: Schirmer Mosel, 2008). 4. For “planes of immanence [or consistency],” see Gilles Deleuze, Pure Immanence: Essays on a Life, trans. Anne Boyman (New York: Urzone, 2001); Deleuze and Félix
Guattari, Mille Plateaux, vol. 2 of Capitalisme et Schizophrénie (Paris: Minuit, 1980). 5. Aby Warburg, Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne: Gesammelte Schriften, II – 1, ed. Martin Warnke and Claudia Brink, 2nd rev. ed. (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2000), 21 (pl. 4), 25 (pl. 6), 27 (pl. 7), 29 (pl. 8), 125 (pl. 75), 129 (pl. 77). 6. Cf. Georges Didi-Huberman, La Ressemblance informe ou le gai savoir visuel selon Georges Bataille (Paris: Macula, 1995), 333 – 83.
Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e
“Le surréalisme: Le dernier instantané de l’intelligentsia européenne. in the neighborhood of Warburg’s anxious 7. 2). COMMON KNOWLEDGE 52 “Dislocation of the World” and “Tragedy of Culture” There is also the issue. 1 – 2). grotesque heads. is that all knowledge of the disparate brings into play the very structure. 35 (pl. 3). 1998). who are nonetheless very different from one another. political propaganda. as well as the montage character. 15 (pl. Warburg.7 Walter Benjamin found that the surrealists took the monstra seriously and that they sought. titanomachias and psychomachias. ed. sadistic eroticism. The montages operate like transverse sections in the longue durée of relations between power and image (for example. in Oeuvres. the Mnemosyne Atlas works like a collection of Desastres: the play of the astra and the monstra takes account of the cruelest and most violent aspects of human history. approved by the tyrant Mussolini and Pope Pius XI (ﬁg. 8. 47). in this symptomatology. 22). Richard Woodﬁeld (Amsterdam: G and B Arts International. II (Paris: Gallimard. where Warburg arranged photographic documents of the Lateran Accords. 131 – 33.” Science in Context 12. Cf. the throne of Saint Peter visible in Warburg’s plate 79 refers subtly to the efﬁgy of the sovereign already visible in plate 1). 69 (pl. Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. 2001). to the divinatory livers in plate 1 (ﬁgs. 55 (pl. Both are mysterious and mystical props of belief and power. 6). 233 – 46. deformed beings dancing together. 57). as well as recent. 39). hybrid creatures of the zodiac. and the last plate in Mnemosyne displays the signs of a long. 32). Charlotte Schoell. For knowledge that comes through re-montage always reﬂects on the de-montage of time in the tragic history of society.8 The theoretical lesson common to these authors. 10. in its own way. 103 (pl. And ﬁnally. refers. Cf. history of anti-Semitism. In 1929 Hitler’s Mein Kampf reached record sales in Hamburg. “Gli spazi di . Wolfram Pichler and Gufrun Swaboda. 25 (pl. cruel and proliferating metamorphoses. “Aby Warburg’s Late Comments on Symbol and Ritual. monstrous serpents.” in Art History as Cultural History: Warburg’s Projects. 183 – 208. and upheaval. dizzying falls. 105 (pl. “ ‘Serious Issues’: The Last Plates of Warburg’s Picture Atlas Mnemosyne. Maurice de Gandillac. Aby Warburg und der Antisemitismus: Kulturwissenschaft als Geistespolitik (Frankfurt: Fischer.” trans. which is the principal theme of plate 79.10 Here we are. But the montages also treat the longue durée of the theologico-political paradigm: Eucharist. 56).Oriental religions. once again (and despite differences of objects and styles). 87 (pl. in their own way — and in the same period — to make out an improbable inventory of the movements of the soul inscribed in movements of desire and of the body. 4 (1999): 621 – 42.9 Of course. The samples of spatial (or ﬁgural) chaos bear witness to a psychic chaos with historical or political incarnations. of the images of thought.Glass. 1). 2000). 9. the salient question is one of cultural survivals. Walter Benjamin. of political prophecy. 113 – 34. Warburg. Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. in these montages. I am thinking in particular of the last plates of Mnemosyne. female creatures with several breasts. 19 (pl. and other multiform personiﬁcations of the nightmare of reason.
“L’image brûle. London contemporaries — in this case.” Quaderni Warburg Italia 1 (2003): 99 – 105. Warburg Institute Archive. Deutschland über Alles: Ein Bilderbuch (Berlin: Neuer Deutscher Verlag. Hamburg: Rowohlt. 2006). Bertolt Brecht.12 and Brecht’s several atlases of Warburg: Topograﬁe storico.” in Penser par les images: Autour des travaux de Georges Didi.11 Tucholsky and Heartﬁeld’s striking political montages in their Bilderbuch titled Deutschland. Laurent Zimmermann (Nantes: Cécile Defaut. Aby Warburg. “Paralipomènes et variantes des ‘thèses sur le concept d’histoire. 1927–29.culturali. Deutschland. 1973). plate 1. Georges Didi-Huberman.Huberman. Photo: The Warburg Institute. 12. and John Heartﬁeld. Deutschland über Alles. Benjamin. 11.Figure 1. Kurt Tucholsky and John Heartfield. Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. 350. 1991). Kurt Tucholsky. Walter Benjamin. 24 – 38. Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 53 . ed. Benjamin’s magisterial “organization of pessimism” through images. 1929. autobiograﬁche e mediali nell’atlante Mnemosyne. published at the same time as Warburg was preparing the last plates of his atlas. 114 – 21.’ ” Écrits français (Paris: Gallimard.
are all strikingly relevant projects. Georges Didi-Huberman. 1 (Paris: Minuit. Warburg Institute Archive. London images on the tragedies of contemporary history.COMMON KNOWLEDGE 54 Figure 2. Aby Warburg. Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. too. Photo: The Warburg Institute. composed from a communist point of view. invoked a cultural longue dureé — from Homer or Aeschylus to Voltaire or Goethe — in order to substantiate his strik13. Quand les images prennent position: L’oeil de l’histoire. plate 79. .13 It is no coincidence that Brecht. 2009). Cf. 1927 – 29.
1928 – 29). Morphologie und Funktion. Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. There is. “Pathos und Ethos. it is always signed with a world at war. Jean-Marie Valentin. of Dante and of Cervantes. as a history of forms? Warburg’s atlas did not neglect this point of view and indeed can be regarded as a collection of diagrams for visually sorting the world. Aby Warburg. 77 (pl. its inﬁnite variability and formal invention: Disparates of circular forms and frontal walls. of Voltaire and of Goethe. 28 – 30). and cultural movements. 11 (pl. according to which war. 17. there would be no art. and so were those of Shakespeare and of Homer. ﬂuid movements and tabular arrangements.” trans. It is impossible to afﬁrm that. Salvatore Settis. translation modiﬁed. 80. .17 The treasury of forms is always. without disorder. in L’Art du comédien: Écrits sur le théâtre (Paris: L’Arche. to historical pathos.A world at war? Should we not read the history of art. . 1980). psychological. pathos and ethos. “Exercices pour comédiens.102. Bertolt Brecht.102. the world of Aeschylus was full of combat and terror.” Vorträge aus dem Warburg-Haus 1 (1997): 31 – 73. However paciﬁstic [art] has been said to be. “ ‘Der Leidschatz der Menschheit wird humaner Besitz. therefore. 23 – 26). Cf. 37 – 45 (pl. horizontal confrontations and vertical falls. between suffering and sophrosyne. III. the response to a war or. B).. Hence the importance of those gestures and Pathosformeln whose constellations are displayed by the atlas like so many Caprichos or psychomachias — those powers of the imagination at the crossroads between madness and reason.or cross-section in chaos.18 Hence the anxious nature and melancholic roots of the 14 .’ ” Der Menschenrechte des Auges: Über Aby Warburg (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt. No matter what the universities whisper to us regarding Greek harmony.3 and III. in any case.14 • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e ing formula.15 But Warburg. Aby Warburg. the founder of an anthropology of images and an iconology of their “intervals. no form that is not. 42). Cf. 15. Mnemosyne: Grundbegriffe II (London: Warburg Institute Archive. Martin Warnke. 121. between dislocation and re-montage. 113 – 86. 1999). which is to say — using Warburg’s own term — a “thought space” (Denkraum). 17 – 23 (pl. is the bottom-line “subject of art” (das Thema der Kunst): 55 . nor that there could be one: we know of no world that is not disorder. 56). however cruel this conjunction of words may seem. ﬁrst of all. a “treasury of sufferings” (Leidschatz).4. it speaks of wars.” referred any formal singularity to the play or conﬂict of corporeal. 16. 103 (pl. in order to make a transverse. and the “dislocation of the world” or the “world out of joint” (die Welt aus den Fugen). 18. 25. 2 – 6).16 The history of images according to Warburg must be thought of as a tragic story that always comes back to a point between the worst of the monstra and the best of the astra. Didi-Huber man The dislocation of the world: that is the subject of art. whether explicitly or implicitly. and whenever art makes [a peace treaty] with the world. 49 – 51 (pl. . etc.
“Souvenirs sur Aby Warburg. Alex Coles (London: Black Dog. Roland Kany.“nameless science” that Warburg invented. Rampley.21 not only to the context of the German “science of the mind.19 Hence too the afﬁnity of his undertaking with that of Benjamin. Villhauer. 22. Beatrice Hanssen.1 (1976 ): 169 – 76 . Cf.” Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie 2. 95 – 137. 45 (2003): 100. Matthew Rampley. Horst Bredekamp. 1992).”23 His theory of Pathosformeln was founded on his thinking — perhaps Attic. 1987). 94 – 117. romantisme. Aby Warburgs Theorie der Kultur.” in Allegorie und Melancholie. 1999). Akten des internationalen Symposions Hamburg 1990. Walter Benjamin. Rampley.” Art Bulletin 79. . Erinnerung und die Andacht zum Unbedeutenden im Werk von Usener.” but also to the offbeat constellation of heterodox Jewish thinkers to which. however discretely. saw everything from the perspective (or on the “plane of consistency”) of pain: “He never said: this is right.” in Denkräume: Zwischen Kunst und Wissenschaft. He said: this is veiled by suffering. Adi Efal. Origine du drame baroque allemand. his ideas about memory were aimed at a psychohistorical theory of the conﬂicts between the monstra and the astra. Cf. Cornelia Zumbusch. Mnemosyne als Programme: Geschichte. 179. Wissenschaft in Bildern: Symbol und dialektisches Bild in Aby Warburgs Mnemosyne-Atlas und Walter Benjamins Passagen-Werk (Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Ulrich Port. Cf. in spite of his humor and constant punning. Marianne Schuller. ex-. . ed. Juifs hétérodoxes: Messianisme. . Klaus Berger described Warburg as a man who. 2002). Panofsky). vol. 149 – 60. 2010). Warburg and Walter Benjamin (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Klaus Berger. Marco Bertozzi. Detail und Sinnhorizont (Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Aby Warburgs Theorie der Kultur. Warburg und Benjamin (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. Il detective melanconico e altri saggi ﬁlosoﬁci (Milan: Feltrinelli. 5 (2000): 221 – 38. 23. he fully belongs. “Archives of Memory: Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. Gotlind Birkle. Konrad Hoffmann. who wrote of history as the history of universal suffering (Geschichte als Leidensgeschichte der Welt). “Unterwegs. 73 – 100 . perfectly expressed how his friend sought to understand forms in terms of forces — “conﬁguring energies” — that were in turn seen as “in the center of the storm and of the whirlwind of life itself ”: He did not ﬁrstly cast his eyes upon works of art. Poetik und Tragödientheorie.” in Aby Warburg. 261 – 67. perhaps Nietzschean — about tragedy. Sylvia Baumgart. Jochen Becker. 87 – 103.” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 73 (1999): 5 – 42. Marianne Schuller. Zum Gedächtnis: Nach Aby Warburg. 2008). 64 – 89. trans. “Aby Warburg’s History of Art: Collective Memory and the Social Mediation of Images.20 Many aspects of their thinking would require retrieval and comparison for us to establish the scale and depth of this afﬁnity and to restore Warburg’s work.” Assaph. “Angst und Methode nach Warburg: Erinnerung als Veränderung. Sibylle Muller (Paris: Flammarion. but he felt and saw the great conﬁguring energies behind the works. Michael Löwy. Cf. ed. “Portrait of Melancholy (Benjamin. no. no. “Ursprung so wie Zerstörung: Sinnbild und Sinngebung bei Warburg und Benjamin. Willem van Reijen (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. 2000). ed.22 In an apt and moving testimony. Bernd Villhauer. Where others had seen COMMON KNOWLEDGE 56 19. ed. 112 – 14. The Remembrance of Things Past: On Aby M. 3 De-. Warburg. 21.1 (1997): 41 – 55. 2004). Warburg.” MLN 114.1 (1993): 73 – 95. .” Traﬁc. Michael Diers. Benjamin: Eine Konstellation. 24 . “Warburg’s ‘Pathos Formula’ in Psychoanalytic and Benjaminian Contexts. 20. “Bilder — Schriften zum Gedächtnis: Freud.5 (December 1999): 991 – 1013. utopie (Paris: Éditions de l’Éclat. and Menthchild Fend (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.” in The Optic of Walter Benjamin. Kurt Forster.” Daedalus 105. dis-.24 Ernst Cassirer. 1985). and Charlotte SchoellGlass (Weinheim: VCH-Acta Humaniora. 1993). this is wrong. “ ‘Katharsis des Leidens’: Aby Warburgs ‘Pathosformeln’ und ihre konzeptionellen Hintergründe in Rhetorik. 1991). in his magniﬁcent funeral eulogy for Warburg in 1929. 31 – 127 and 246 – 81. “From Symbol to Allegory: Aby Warburg’s Theory of Art. 179 – 85.
1947). obsidional. from on high. 27. Rarely has a researcher more deeply dissolved his deepest suffering into a gaze and thereby liberated it. as he always did with the episodes of art history. 177 – 215. . 42 – 44. he penetrated into its ultimate and deepest tragic problems. he had experienced and learned what he was capable of grasping and interpreting. XII. and sidereal war that Warburg. between 1914 and 1918. Carl George Heise. Warburg. found in Hegel and Goethe as well as in Georg Simmel’s classic essay. which kept him enclosed. nor that of the artist.” in Oeuvres. had there not been the social.” in La Tragédie de la culture et autres essais (Paris: Éditions Rivages. In himself. Logique des sciences de la culture (Paris: Le Cerf. . Warburg. most deeply felt experience. familiar with death. The “most deeply felt experience” of which Cassirer speaks is Warburg’s madness. He always remained in the center of the storm and the whirlwind of life itself. that converges naturally with the anthropology of images dear to Warburg. See also Georg Simmel. Cassirer would devote himself to a study of the “tragedy of culture. But this capacity was not only the gift of the researcher. 26. . 1988). 3). It is no coincidence that in the midst of World War II. disﬁgured — surrounded the historian of the Nachleben in 1918 (ﬁg. Cassirer was one of the very few to visit Warburg in the asylum (on April 10. He delved here into his own.27 Warburg carried the war on his shoulders as a pagan Atlas or a Hebraic tzaddik would do: some 9 million dead and 21 million injured — crippled. Écrits sur l’art (Paris: Le Cerf. Didi-Huber man determined and delimited forms.25 • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 57 . Ernst Cassirer. . the playing out of life. .” which is a notion.26 Like Cassirer. “Éloge funèbre du professeur Aby M. 211 – 12. 1924) and therefore knew at ﬁrsthand the visceral war that Warburg had to wage against his most intimate monstra. Persönliche Erinnerungen an Aby Warburg (New York: Eric M. self-contained forms. or delighted aesthetically in the mirror of art.” But from the heart of this suffering there came the force and the incomparable particularity of the gaze. Ernst Cassirer. between the walls of the Kreuzlingen sanatorium. But Cassirer did not forget the historical context in which this conﬂict took place. experienced intensely to the point of madness. however deep. howling. he saw moving forces. Carl Georg Heise insisted on Warburg’s “indescribable suffering” in the face of what he called the Weltkatastrophe. and powerless. from the center of his own being and his own life. “Le concept et la tragédie de la culture. in 1942. the events of the war from the perspective of a terrify25. 55 – 56. Warburg was not a scientist and a researcher in the impassive sense in which he might have contemplated. were not merely subjective but cultural as well. That Warburg kept himself “in the center of the storm” meant that his monstra.Cassirer here obviously refers to two crucial and inseparable episodes in Warburg’s life. he saw what he called the great Pathosformel that Antiquity had created and left as a lasting patrimony to humanity. 1991). He might not have had his “visceral war” to wage. “Early on he read the harsh words — he was familiar with suffering. . It is likely that Warburg grasped. 1995).
104 . 1924). 120 – 27. that of a “European civil war” in which the monstra threatened all human life and culture. 1989). Internationales Kriegsmuseum. Cf. and the latter the AngloFrench world of technological and economic utilitarianism. was equally. Niall Ferguson. L’Or et le sang: Les buts de guerre économiques de la Première Guerre mondiale (Paris: Fayard. 743 – 44 . Ernst Friedrich.28 That Warburg should sometimes have imagined that he was responsible for this war should not be interpreted solely in terms of his madness. We can imagine. Ron Chernow. See Enzo Traverso. . ed.Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family (New York: Vintage. how Warburg. The Warburgs: The Twentieth. 2003). Photo: Georges Didi-Huberman 58 ingly long durée. 1914 – 1945 (Paris: Stock.COMMON KNOWLEDGE Figure 3. 29. 9 – 21. too. 1890 – 1930. 2007). at the same time. 214 (“Gueule cassée”). “Max Warburg and German Politics: The Limits of Financial Power in Wilhelmine Germany. that tragedy for culture.” in Wilhelminism and Its Legacy: German Modernities.29 Hence World War I. 373 – 76. in contrast to the word Zivilisation — the former meaning the “eternal values” of Germanic culture. 185 – 201. the upheaval he must have felt at the embrace of the word Kultur by German military propaganda. and the Meaning of Reform. the man of culture. a tragedy in culture. Warburg. Krieg dem Kriege! (Berlin. 33. À feu et à sang: De la guerre civile européenne. beginning in 1914. 35 – 127. Georges-Henri Soutou. Imperialism. 141 – 90 . who understood culture in terms of spatial and temporal migrations (Wanderungen). the 28. on the level of global ﬁnance. 1993). We can imagine. for example. was at the center of a family of bankers who participated directly in the goals of the German economic war while acting. would have regarded the aggressive closure of borders. in Aby Warburg’s eyes. Geoff Eley and James Retallack (Oxford: Bergham.
in which the entire spectrum of styles. 32 – 57. The 1914 – 18 war was both a Kulturkrieg and a Bilderkrieg. 31. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Entertainment. Paul Valéry.” in Cali. 255 – 71. sometimes with a fevered anxiety. reﬂections. 988 – 1000. ed. 273 – 361. mobilizing entire civil societies but above all the “cultural elites.”30 A great number of intellectuals joined the two fronts of the conﬂict. Hannah Arendt. for instance.” in Oeuvres. Leo Strauss. Paris: Payot and Rivages. 1996).” in La Crise de la culture: Huit exercices de pensée politique (1972. 34 . Jürgen Kocka. was to be found in vast quantities. For generals works. testimonies. 1914 – 18 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Corni..34 The scale of this psychomachia may be measured. “La crise de la culture: Sa portée sociale et politique. “La guerra degli intellettuali tedeschi. Vincenzo Cali.35 to say nothing of the war narratives produced. Paris: Gallimard. 51 – 67. such as Benjamin. 210 – 43.3 (1969): 45 – 60. Christophe Didier. anglo. was even more ruthlessly analyzed by Jewish thinkers of the next generation. by the prodigious quantity of publications. 1982). eds. who produced several anthologies during the war. See Roland N. in his notebooks. 78 – 105. Peter Jelavich. 2000). Wolfgang J. The Mobilization of Intellect: French Scholars and Writers during the Great War (Cambridge. Cf. 1999). “La crise de notre temps. 2000).000 “war poems” sent every morning to the German newspapers during World War I. 1969). 1914 – 1918.31 When discussing the “European crisis” that Pierre Renouvin has diagnosed. Stromberg. Vom Brocke. 2004). 5 – 130. from factual testimony to novels. 1914 – 1918.saxonne et allemande). Guerre et littérature: Le bouleversement des consciences dans la littérature romanesque inspirée par la Grande Guerre (littératures française. 1984). Corine Pelluchon.” Australian Journal of Politics and History 15. Facing Total War: German Society.” in Histoire culturelle de la Grande Guerre. 13 – 20. “La guerre en ses cultures. The critic Julius Rab.development of trench warfare. 7 – 39. ed. 373 – 409. 81 – 117. “Critique de la violence. Prochasson. Hannah Arendt. Aviel Roshwald and Richard Stites. Kultur und Krieg: Die Rolle der Intellektuellen. and Giuseppe Ferrandi. 32. 1914 – 1918: Retours d’expériences. Martha Hanna. 2005). see Léon Riegel. Cf. Oldenbourg Verlag. Walter Benjamin. and Ferrandi. more often than not with a patriotic and nationalist energy (to which even Warburg contributed). ed.. 2008). Theodor Adorno. Retours d’expériences (Paris: Tallandier. Les Philosophes et la guerre de 14 (Saint-Denis: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes. La Dialectique de la raison: Fragments philosophiques (Paris: Gallimard. 36. Prochasson. Gli intellettuali e la Grande guerra (Bologna: Società Editrice Il Mulino. 1988).32 we should mention foremost the “crisis of the mind” to which Paul Valéry pointed in 191933 (and which. JeanJacques Becker (Paris: Armand Colin. 1910 – 1919 (Paris: La Découverte. Moses. Cf. Pierre Renouvin. Philippe Soulez. 1957). 1989). Christophe Prochasson.” in Nihilisme et politique (2001. Au nom de la Patrie: Les intellectuels et la Première Guerre mondiale. I (Paris: Gallimard. eds. Gli intellettuali e la Grande guerra. 1996). which he recorded. d’autres Lumières. Jean Hytier (Paris: Gallimard. and Propaganda. “La crise de l’esprit. in the era of World War II. 253 – 88.” in Roshwald and Stites. 1910 – 30 (Paris: Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 59 . 35. Essai sur la crise de la rationalité contemporaine (Paris: Vrin. B. and narratives devoted to the war as it was actually happening. 1974). Redemption by War: The Intellectuals and 1914 (Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas. Theodor W. 18. 1914 – 1918 (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press. Gustavo Corni. 2008). Orages de papier: 1914 – 1918 (Paris: Somogy. Toward the end of the ﬁrst year of the conﬂict. European Culture in the Great War. ed. John A. 33. Mommsen. and the immobility of the front lines. 1996 ).36 30. some two hundred volumes of Kriegslyrik had been published in Germany. Leo Strauss: Une autre raison. Künstler und Schriftsteller im Ersten Weltkrieg (Munich: R. 2005). I. MA: Harvard University Press.. La Crise européenne et la Première Guerre mondiale (1904 – 1918) (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Christophe Prochasson and Anne Rasmussen.” in Oeuvres. European Culture in the Great War: The Arts.. “Pan-Germanism and the German Professors. estimated that there were 50. “German Culture in the Great War. and Leo Strauss).
Jünger. extended a hand to intellectual friends in countries at war with Germany. 98. for instance. 2008). 17. gloriﬁes “immemorial warriors” and justiﬁes combat as an “inner experience” and as the advent of a “new world. 1 – 75. 1994). “Le corps et la survie d’une identité dans les écrits de guerre français. 1988). 70 – 86 (on nomos) and 256 – 78 (on the Great War). Die veränderte Welt: Eine Bilderﬁbel unserer Zeit (Breslau: Wilhelm G. 1914 – 1918: Retours d’expériences.” Annales: Histoire. for example. Aby Warburg. Jünger. 2008). Jünger. 1976).” we could say that a “parallel war” was being waged in Europe over the “boundaries of thought. La Guerre comme expérience intérieure (1997. on the other hand. Paris: Gallimard. Jünger. Guerre et révolution dans le roman français de 1919 à 1939 (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints. Écrire en guerre. Carl Schmitt. For works about wartime France.The intrinsic content of the psychomachia is difﬁcult to formulate. Leonard V. suivi de La Mobilisation totale (Paris: Gallimard. Prochasson. In his ﬁction Ernst Jünger. Klaus Vondong. 1933). 35 – 50. Jean Kaempfer. Poétique du récit de guerre (Paris: José Corti.”39 Jünger’s ideas are close to those of Carl Schmitt on sovereignty and on the “nomos of the earth. Georges Didi-Huberman. Korn. ed. Allemagne. Cf. 1981). 5 and 31.” while celebrating the “dark magic” of a “total mobilization” guided by the “spirit of heroism. Orages d’acier: Journal de guerre (Paris: Christian Bourgois. 2002). 1961). Der Krieg in der Lyrik des Expressionismus: Studien zur Evolution eines literarischen Themas (Bonn: Bouvier. For works about wartime Germany. Jünger. a mode of being that afﬁrms itself in culture and that we protect in combat. “Feu et movement” [original title: “Mathématique guerrière”]. 11. 38. 2006). André Ducasse. 41. 1918). COMMON KNOWLEDGE 60 Klincksieck. 211 – 73. but. Le Nomos de la Terre dans le droit des gens du Jus Publicum Europaeum (2001. Paris: Christian Bourgois. Jünger and Edmund Schultz. Oswald Spengler. in his preface to the ﬁrst edition of The Decline of the West (dated December 1917).. in Le Boqueteau 125. 1980). 1998).40 Likewise Oswald Spengler. Bernard Giovanangeli. “Art italien et astrologie internationale au Palazzo Schifanoia à Ferrare. 2008). “La mobilisation totale. see Jean Vic. La Littérature de guerre: Manuel méthodique et critique des publications de langue française (août 1914 – août 1916) (Paris: Payot. ed. 1932). 1990).1 (2000): 111 – 33. Quatre chapitres sur la théorie de la souveraineté. 2000). he argued that the “essential thing is the saving of a particular nomos. hoped that his “book might not be entirely unworthy of the military sacriﬁces of Germany. Le Boqueteau 125 (2000.” Essais ﬂorentins (Paris: Klincksieck. 1978). where perspectives were entrenched on the historiographical front lines. any contamination. Smith. 8 – 9 .”38 Even after the war.” in Théologie politique (Paris: Gallimard. 1990). “Théologie politique. . Maurice Rieuneau. La Guerre racontée par les combattants: Anthologie des écrivains du front (1914 – 18) (Paris: Flammarion. Le Roman allemand (1914 – 1933) et la crise de l’esprit: Mythologie des inquiétudes (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Schmitt. given Warburg’s arguments for a “methodological broadening of boundaries. 2004). through the publication of a Rivista 37. 11 – 215. Das Antlitz des Weltkrieges (Berlin: Neufeld and Henius Verlag. écrire la guerre: France. Écrivains combattants de la Grande Guerre (Paris: Bernard Giovanangeli-Ministère de la Défense. Jünger.”37 Numerous writers and intellectuals sought to reclose boundaries that had already begun to open and to join the ﬁghting in the trenches.” in L’État universel. Hans-Harald Müller. Le Mur du temps (1963. see Maurice Boucher. Le Déclin de l’Occident: Esquisse d’une morphologie de l’histoire universelle (1948. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 1930). Der Krieg und die Schriftsteller: Der Kriegsroman der Weimarer Republik (Stuttgart: Metzler. 1986). and every enemy. Nicolas Beaupré. 39 . sciences sociales 55.. L’Image survivante: Histoire de l’art et temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg (Paris: Minuit.”41 Warburg. Ernst Jünger. 40.” which must be defended from any invasion. Hermann Korte. 1970). 195 – 208. Paris: Christian Bourgois. 1914 – 20 (Paris: CNRS. 215. Paris: Gallimard. 161 – 272. Kriegserlebnis: Der Erste Weltkrieg in der literarischen Gestaltung und symbolischen Deutung der Nationen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht.
“L’appello di Aby Warburg a un’intesa italo-tedesca: La guerra del 1914 – 1915. . Aby Warburg. Écrire contre la guerre: Littérature et paciﬁsmes. 249 – 69 .” in Kasten 117: Aby Warburg und der Aberglaube im Ersten Weltkrieg. though. 4 and 5). Dorothea McEwan. Luc Rasson. and a refusal to participate in war-related activity himself.illustrata in 1914 and 1915 (ﬁgs. . La Guerra del 1914. 14 – 18. and Giulio Pancon– celli. 1999). September. Spagnolo-Stiff.Calzia. Rivista illustrata.42 His suffering in the face of the conﬂict. 1997). Une histoire des mutins (Paris: Gallimard. ed. for instance. André Loez. Max Seidel (Venice: Marsilio. eds. Gottfried Korff (Tübingen: Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde. Cf. “Ein Kampf gegen Windmühlen: Warburgs pro-italienische publizis- tische Initiative. A. 2007). August. 43. 1914) 61 . Georg Thilenius. 1914–1918. October (Hamburg: Broschek. 135 – 63.. Cf. 2010).43 But Warburg’s inﬂuence is detectable in the more vehement reﬂections on the war of. 1915). Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e Figure 4. Les refus de la guerre. Kraus depicted the Great War in mythological terms: What mythological confusion is this? Since when has Mars become the god of commerce and Mercury the god of war? . 1916 – 38 (Paris: L’Harmattan. ed. Rivista illustrata for the ﬁrst three months. La Guerra del 1914 – 15: Rivista illustrata dei mesi Novembre Dicembre Gennaio Febbraio (Hamburg: Broschek. I understand sacri- 42.” in Storia dell’arte e politica culturale intorno al 1900: La fondazione dell’Istituto Germanico di Storia dell’Arte di Firenze. never brought him farther than a defense of deserters and paciﬁsts. Karl Kraus — the anti-Jünger par excellence.
123. Karl Kraus. 147 – 64. 105. Satire et prophétie: Les voix de Karl Kraus (Marseille: Agone. long before he tied the rise of Nazism to “the Last Days of Mankind. “Apocalypse. 137 – 46. . Kraus (among others) embodied a genuine cosmopolitanism of the Warburgian kind. Each state is at war with its own culture.” in La Littérature démolie.”45 Kraus had shown how the motifs of “progress” and “apocalypse” can combine. . December. In offering the most rigorous and abundant formulations of cosmopolitan politics. Jacques Bouveresse and Gerald Stieg. Cf. Rivista illustrata for the months of November. Kraus. 46. The Last Days of Mankind (New York: Ungar. Jacques Bouveresse. . special issue of Agone: Histoire. Les Guerres de Karl Kraus. Karl Kraus. But the other way round? People who adore fetishes will never go so low as to think that the commodity has a soul. 1986). January..COMMON KNOWLEDGE Figure 5.44 By 1909. 35 – 36 (2006 ). 1915) 62 ﬁcing cotton for one’s life. eds. . La Guerra del 1914 – 15. nos. 2007). La Nuit venue (Paris: Lebovic. Politique et Sociologie.46 In opposition to the politics of classing other nations as enemies and closing one’s borders to them. 1993). . February (Hamburg: Broschek.” in La Littérature démolie (1990 . Paris: Payot and Rivages. 1974). 45. Benjamin publicly defended Kraus and. 39 – 120. . What is undertaken for the proﬁt of the state is often achieved at the cost of the world. 109. at the same 44. Karl Kraus. . “Le progrès. Instead of being at war with its own unculture.
student and friend of Marcel Mauss. Un ethnologue dans les tranchées. died at the front in the Meuse in April 1915. août 1914 – avril 1915: Lettres à sa femme Alice. . that we can see in documentary montage an alternative to the dead ends of traditional narrative. 2002). contradicting the patriotic and heroic proprieties — that in 1918 “people returned from the front .” Oeuvres. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge. 2002). Some were plunged into the heart of combat. vol. Walter Benjamin. “Le conteur: Réflexions sur l’œuvre de Nicolas Leskov. 48. fought on the fronts of Ourcq. in his text entitled 47. “Théories du fascisme allemand. “Experience and Poverty” (1933). Clio (1932. 51. .49 Benjamin’s essay “The • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 63 . ed. following the example of Alfred Döblin. Vivre l’histoire. making maps of the front lines. Lucien Febvre.” in Oeuvres. MA: Harvard University Press. II (Paris: Gallimard. 2005).” Oeuvres. I wish to thank Henri Febvre and Brigitte Mazon for giving me access to these documents.”48 In “The Crisis of the Novel.” postface to Lucien Febvre. À propos de l’ouvrage collectif Guerre et guerriers publié sous la direction d’Ernst Jünger.Storyteller” invokes immemorial survivals in the popular art of storytelling. Walter Benjamin. in Selected Writings.” but meanwhile he never stopped ﬁlling notebooks. Michel Vanoosthuyse. 2000). 993. 2.50 These survivals he understands as a means of calling upon Mnemosyne across the tragedies of culture. 1999). Henri Febvre.” in Oeuvres. 2000). Cf. mon père. not richer but poorer in communicable experience. its “gloriﬁcation of war [made as] an unbridled transposition of the theses of art for art’s sake. collecting photographs (ﬁg. perhaps not accidentally. including the war narrative of epic ambitions. drawing what he saw around him. ed. Positivist historicity was not an epistemic model through which the present could any longer be deciphered and understood. 198 – 215. In “Experience and Poverty.”51 Warburg Facing the War: Notizkästen 115 – 118 World War I left no one the opportunity to remain indifferent or unscathed. Benjamin. Benjamin. 114 – 51. 17. Didi-Huber man time.” Benjamin dared to say. Brigitte Mazon (Paris: Robert Laffont-Armand Colin. Paris: Gallimard. 228 – 73. 192. Benjamin. 2009). in Reims and Douaumont: he was the initiator and theoretician of a method of combat called “crossﬁring. “La crise du roman: À propos de Berlin Alexanderplatz de Döblin. II (Paris: Gallimard. III (Paris: Gallimard. 50. Cf. 2000). in facing which Clio could only become sick — sick (according to Charles Péguy in 1917) of modern “barbarities. Fascisme et littérature pure: La fabrique d’Ernst Jünger (Marseille: Agone. not without having left behind while on duty traces of his enlightened thinking. trans. 52. “Karl Kraus.52 One of the two great founders of the Annales school. 731. 49. 6). Alexandre Riley and Philippe Besnard (Paris: CNRS. 189 – 97. exposed the fascist component of Jünger’s writing. Charles Péguy. “Lucien Febvre. 53.” he suggested. Robert Hertz.”47 The author of “One-Way Street” did not confuse the scale of the European psychomachia with its actual content: he was able to diagnose a crisis of narrative corresponding to the crisis of history. The ethnologist Robert Hertz.53 He never really integrated this experience of the war into his later analyses except. II.
“Critique historique et critique du témoignage. he would publish “Réﬂexions d’un historien sur les fausses nouvelles de la guerre” (1921) and. 2006 ). stories. Bloch. Annales’s other founder.56 Bloch’s analyses are parallel to those of Warburg.” in L’Histoire. Annette Becker and Étienne Bloch (Paris: Gallimard.54 Marc Bloch.57 It would be worth extending this analysis to questions of method. Lucien Febvre. 58. la Guerre. their shared comparativism and their mutual interest in the historical content of images. 57. for example. la Résistance. la Résistance. drawings of friends. musées. 97 – 107. . la Guerre. “Écrits et photographies de guerre. la Résistance. “Photographies aériennes. lists. 7 and 8). 16 x 25 cm. la Guerre.COMMON KNOWLEDGE 64 Figure 6. Lucien Febvre. 167 – 78. “Projet d’un enseignement d’histoire comparée des sociétés européennes: Candidature au Collège de France. la Résistance. whose work Bloch undoubtedly did not know. Carnet de guerre. Bloch.58 As Reinhart Koselleck has shown. ed. la Résistance. Aby Warburg. Bloch. “Pour une histoire comparée des sociétés européennes.55 After World War I. Bloch. and photographs of devastated nature (ﬁgs. 293 – 316.” in L’Histoire. “Parallel gelesen: Die Schriften von Aby Warburg und Marc Bloch zwischen 1914 und 1924. 21 – 35. Bloch.” in Vivre l’histoire. 55.” in L’Histoire. la Guerre. “Réﬂexions d’un historien sur les fausses nouvelles de la guerre. The parallels between the attitudes of Bloch and Warburg to the war have been well analyzed by Ulrich Raulff. 111 – 292. any “muta54. Ink and colored pencils on paper. 347 – 80 .” in Bredekamp et al. “Critique historique et critique du témoignage” (1950). Collection Henri Febvre. la Résistance.” in L’Histoire. la Guerre. elaborated on his experience in the trenches by accumulating plans.” in L’Histoire. 1914 – 18. 56.” in L’Histoire. Cf. Marc Bloch. “Vivre l’histoire. reports of operations. 393 – 406. 443 – 50. after World War II. la Guerre. Ulrich Raulff. arts populaires.. Photo: DR “Living through History” of 1943. I wish to thank Yves Bloch for giving me access to his notebooks.
23 x 20 cm. Marc Bloch. 23 x 20 cm. Collection Yves Bloch. 1914 – 18. Marc Bloch. Photographs pasted on cardboard. Carnet de guerre. Photo: Georges Didi-Huberman Figure 8.Figure 7. Collection Yves Bloch. Photo: Georges Didi-Huberman Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 65 . Carnet de guerre. 1914 – 18. Photographs pasted on cardboard.
201 – 47.63 This formulation appears as well in his manuscript for the COMMON KNOWLEDGE 66 59 . ed. Warburg undertook the publication of a postage stamp — a cross-border image — with a signiﬁcant motto: Idea vincit. and Panconcelli. Claudia Cierivia and Pietro Montani (Turin- Racconigi: Aragno. Schoell-Glass. 62. When. While the family bank naturally participated in the German war effort. however. 22 – 23. 63.” in Lo sguardo di Giano: Aby Warburg fra tempo e memoria.59 Of course. Warburg. that seek to close borders or dig trenches) and.60 Warburg thought. “Warburg. on an anthropological and even metaphysical level. “L’appello di Aby Warburg”.61 We can read. 16. Warburg pursued his work as a struggle against certain ideas (those that set man against man. as a struggle on behalf of other ideas (those that open borders. Stresemann und die Briefmarke. It was as a man of the Enlightenment that Aby Warburg ﬁrst of all wanted to respond to the irrational fury of the world conﬂict. and Panconcelli. an Urkatastrophe. “Idea Vincit. in 1926. on the duty of protecting works of art in enemy territory. 141 – 90. which was of epistemological signiﬁcance. Cf.tion of experience” implies a “change of method” in the work of a historian. Paolo Sanvito. 2004). Between Tradition and Modernity: Aby Warburg and the Public Purposes of Art in Hamburg. Cf. Mark A. not to cut German intellectuals off from their Italian colleagues. Ulrich Raulff.” in L’Expérience de l’histoire (Paris: Gallimard. La volante e vottoriosa idea: Una commissione artistica di Aby Warburg. “Mutation de l’expérience et changement de méthode: Esquisse historico. in the Rivista a note by the director of the Berlin museums. Dorothea McEwan. notably. 2009). “La Guerra del 1914. 61. 51 – 62. 1896 – 1918 (New York: Berghahn. Cierivia and Micol Forti (Rome: Sapienza Università di Roma-Mondadori Università. ed. 60. Thilenius. my own hypothesis regarding Warburg is that this change. with the ethnologist Georg Thilenius and the linguist Giulio Panconcelli-Calzia. that recognize the porosity of cultures and trace the perpetual “migrations” of intellect). 345 – 76. he himself had to attend painfully to the “Jewish census” ( Judenzählung) ordered in October 1916 by army ofﬁcers who wanted to expose the so-called underrepresentation of Jewish combatants on the front. La Guerra del 1914. l’antagonismo Italia-Germania e la Guerra: Analisi di un cortocircuito politico e interiore. for example.Calzia. He was enthusiastic about the idea of a League of Nations and about efforts toward the reconciliation of Germany and France. that the astra could ﬁght efﬁciently with the monstra on the ground of ideas and so devoted much energy to founding. was embodied in the Mnemosyne Atlas and in the theoretical orientation that its compilation brought to light. Warburg.” 345 – 76.anthropologique. Reinhart Koselleck.Calzia. . along with a factual account of religious persecutions on the Russian front. 180 – 219. 119 – 53. Wilhelm von Bode. Spagnolo-Stiff. Russell. in order to maintain the European intellectual tissue so as.62 Faced with a war that he considered. Aby Warburg und der Antisemitismus. Thilenius. Aristide Briand and Adolf Stresemann received the Nobel Prize for Peace in the name of that difﬁcult reconciliation.” in Aby Warburg e la cultura italiana: Fra sopravvivenze e prospettive di ricerca. Warburgs. McEwan. the Rivista illustrata already mentioned. on the other hand. “Idea Vincit. 1997). “Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg einer Idee ‘Idea Vincit’: Warburg. Cf. Chernow. 2007).” Vorträge aus dem Warburg-Haus 6 (2002): 125 – 62.
deconstructions of ideology). lies. 9). We are confronted in these images with monuments of a longue durée. Everywhere the stigmata of the Urkatastrophe. 13). though many have been lost. the amount of material it amassed regarding the war is considerable. and the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek began to accumulate an extensive collection of the kind at the very start of the hostilities. distributed in three catalogs. collecting documentation on the war. 1 (dated July 6. 10). Today one can consult some 1. and innumerable photographs — around 5. collapsed under bombs.64 But the founder of modern iconology knew that any cultural psychomachia will be embodied in polarized images that. as in documents where the military demands that the war be reproducible in photographic or cinematographic images (ﬁg. . make them in turn accessible and incomprehensible. At least ﬁfteen hundred such works were acquired by the Library between 1914 and 1918. simpliﬁed or placed in mises en abymes. profusions of images in which extraordinary afﬁnities appear. suggesting that destruction leads to archaeology (ﬁg. a ghostly landscape in the manner of Hercules Segers. 1929). translate and betray ideas. in Warburg’s mind. Grundbegriffe II. similar to those that art historians are accustomed to seeing in paintings of the Italian Primitives (ﬁg. . successively. antiSemitism) in favor of others (survivals. postage stamps. images bought for use by the German army. On the ground. the terrifying new technology of this war. most of a lunar or prehistoric appearance. probably during the transfer of the Library to London in 1933. If we bear in mind the private or familial character of the research institution that Warburg founded. according to the catalog. 12). but everywhere. aerial explosions. Even if reduced to a third of its original quantity. Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 67 . 11). This struggle presupposed. as if in an exaggeratedly blackened engraving. comparisons. equally. . postcards. disseminate pretty little white clouds in the sky. Mnemosyne.000. sending us back to the most fundamental motifs of the Warburgian Kulturwissenschaft. or the remains of an apocalypse drawn by an Expressionist painter (ﬁg.Grundbegriffe: “The idea overcomes — everything is possible” (Idea vincit — alles ist möglich).445 war-related items. the front is overrun with barbed wire and the vegetation devastated. we ﬁnd signs of the devastation’s technological management. In this nightmare collection. Thus Warburg’s battle of ideas was accompanied by a battle of images: a struggle against certain images (propaganda. Warburg. and even if Warburg seems to have given up organizing it into an atlas. this iconographic documentation gives one an impression like that given by the plates of Mnemosyne: both are brilliantly organized disorders. and with Doric columns speckled with the impact of machine-gun bullets (ﬁg. There are press photographs. There are aerial perspectives. The image of a dirigible hit by a 64.
Aby Warburg. 1914 – 18. A 2611. London Figure 10. Aby Warburg.COMMON KNOWLEDGE 68 Figure 9. Photo: The Warburg Institute. Photo: The Warburg Institute. T 4156. London . Kriegskartothek. 1914 – 18. Warburg Institute Archive. Warburg Institute Archive. Kriegskartothek.
Kriegskartothek. Warburg Institute Archive. 1914 – 18. T 3597. London Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 69 . 1914 – 18. T 3421. London Figure 12. Photo: The Warburg Institute. Aby Warburg.Figure 11. Photo: The Warburg Institute. Kriegskartothek. Aby Warburg. Warburg Institute Archive.
the searchlights of antiaircraft defenses at night. working outside. are three boxes of ﬁles (Notizkästen). It is clear that. Given the necessity of interpreting the symptoms in all their manifestations.65 What remains today. the funeral of a Jew (killed in combat?). one after another. P. naval shipyards in full activity. a blockhouse in the forest. an Orthodox Easter procession on the Eastern front. 39 – 69. The image of a horse bizarrely suspended above the sea has the involuntary splendor of a shot by Sergei Eisenstein (ﬁg. that bear witness to the intense methodological enterprise — the historical. 15).” in Korff. dismantled pylons. as well as theoretical tools necessary for the list’s COMMON KNOWLEDGE 70 65. the equipment on gun turrets. in an apparent jumble. an elephant from a zoo requisitioned for the war effort. But batches of canes stacked in a carver’s workshop remind us of how the war crippled. “Einleitung. the reprocessing of trash. Warburg established. ﬁeld ambulances. . misery in the streets. numbered 115. J. 117. army libraries.” in Korff. subterranean vehicles. women weeping farewells for departing sailors. Elsewhere appear. soldiers occupying a shtetl in central Europe. bombs left on a beach. Cf. Kasten 115 is titled “War and Culture” (Krieg und Kultur): it comprises a list of objects (medals. the meeting of the very latest submarine and a sailing ship from a previous century. bridges broken in two. villages in ruins. Hagia Sophia at Constantinople occupied by the German army. a set of tools for archiving and classifying into ﬁles the innumerable motifs of this great modern psychomachia.ﬁghter plane has both the implacable appearance of a technological document and the pathos of a mythological fall. monuments to the dead. Kasten 117. wide-open cofﬁns. breadmaking in a time of shortage. a row of ﬂayed cattle in an abattoir. at the heart of his Library. postcards. archaeological. ships exploding. . Gottfried Korff. philosophical. war museums). in the London archive. . church altars covered in military commemorative plaques. a makeshift military cemetery. houses destroyed from the inside. catalogs for paper clothing. disﬁgured. . crossing surfaces. and 118. seventy-two boxes. rations tickets. carcasses of tanks. this iconographic cacophony meant as much as the gestural disorder of an attack of hysteria would have meant in the eyes of Freud. Kasten 117. “Aby Warburgs Kriegskartothek: Vorbericht einer Rekonstruktion.000 ﬁles. 14). an orchestra at the front. holding 90. somewhere between the chariot of Phaeton and the plunging of the damned into hell (ﬁg. 16). Schwartz. and philological work — carried out by Warburg and his collaborators on the iconographic materials that he collected. This visual kaleidoscope was for Warburg a collection of symptoms. Claudia Wedepohl went through these boxes in 2002. swarming in depths. mock-ups for battleﬁeld strategy. in 1918. and reduced men (ﬁg. 11. the gestural language of maritime signaling. military parades. His Kriegskartothek comprised. in Warburg’s eyes.
Photo: The Warburg Institute. 1914 – 18. Aby Warburg. Warburg Institute Archive. Warburg Institute Archive. London Figure 14. Kriegskartothek. Aby Warburg.Figure 13. T 4809. 1914 – 18. Photo: The Warburg Institute. Kriegskartothek. London Didi-Huber man • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 71 . T 4632.
1914 – 18. Kriegskartothek.COMMON KNOWLEDGE 72 Figure 15. Photo: The Warburg Institute. London Figure 16. Photo: The Warburg Institute. A 383. Warburg Institute Archive. Kriegskartothek. A 193. London . Aby Warburg. Warburg Institute Archive. 1914 – 18. Aby Warburg.
Die Kriegssammlungen: Ein Nachweis ihrer Einrichtung und ihres Bestandes (Oldenburg: Gerhard Stalling.” in Korff. Orages de Papier. Cf. completes this apparatus by establishing the basis for an index in which the various writings reveal their collective engagement in and around Warburg’s project. is of course its critical content. . IV. Kasten 117. W. and the university library of Jena. the latter a veritable institution.” “Poetry. Der augestellte Krieg: Präsentationen des Ersten Weltkrieges 1914 – 1939 (Tübingen: Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde. 139 – 55. for example). “Schnitt 1915: Zeitungsausschnittsammlungen im Ersten Weltkrieg. already listed 217 collections. employing no fewer than twenty-four people full time and in 1921 holding about 45. 1917). Susanne Brandt.64. 16 – 27. were unleashed around the European intellectual world. Histoire culturelle de la Grande Guerre. das dieser Krieg in solcher Fülle schuf wie keiner vorher’: Kriegssammlungen und Kriegssammler im Ersten Weltkrieg. public and private. the Deutsche Bücherei of Leipzig. devoted to the Great War. beginning in 1914. Didi-Huber man interpretation (the sociology of Max Weber.” “Munitions Factories. Kasten 117 is devoted more particularly to the “superstitions of war” (Aberglaube im Krieg) and gathers all kinds of material. both historical and ethnological. Warburg Institute Archive. There were also the extraordinary private collections of Theodor Bergmann in Fürth and of Richard Franck in Berlin and Stuttgart. and from “Religion” to “Techniques of Hygiene. 71 – 85. 67. “ ‘ .” in Becker.” and “Cinema.000 works (plus 2. Didier. by the end of the nineteenth century. 2005).70 Warburg opened the way to a genuine political iconology 66. 69. to the German phenomenon of Kriegssammlungen. . 2000) and “Exposer la Grande Guerre: La Première Guerre mondiale représentée dans les expositions en Allemagne de 1914 à nos jours. Albert Buddecke. which appeared in 1917.68 A work by Albert Buddecke on the German Kriegssammlungen. A diary consisting of 134 pages on metal rings.” “War Literature. das Material zu sammeln. Anke te Heesen. and has already been the subject of a conference (ﬁg. “war collections. at the Kaiserliche Universitäts und Landesbibliothek of Strasbourg (which.69 But what radically differentiates the Warburgian project from all of these collections. Vom Kriegsschauplatz zum Gedächtnisraum: Die Westfront 1914 – 49 (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. London.” “Celestial Figures. 68. often put on show in public exhibitions for patriotic ends.66 Kasten 118 is entitled “War and Art” (Krieg und Kunst) and covers a considerable ﬁeld.”67 • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 73 . 87 – 115. 70 .” “Ethics. Kasten 117. Korff. more speciﬁcally. Kasten 117.” in Korff. notably. His undertaking belongs.1. Marinetti.150 periodical titles). from propaganda images to the futurist manifestos of F. had become a model for Warburg’s future Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek).” which ﬂourished on a large scale. The entries of this index range from the “Prehistory” of the war to the different geographical sectors of its occurrence. Christine Beil. 17). the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Cf. Cf.Toward a Critical Anthropology of the War The project in cultural history and iconology that Warburg undertook on the Great War belongs to those “paper storms” that. Alexandra Kaiser.
indeed. Bilder des Krieges. Kasten 117.” in Rother. 2006 ). Aby Warburg. Christophe Prochasson and Anne Rasmussen (Paris: La Découverte.” in Die letzten Tage der Menschheit: Bilder des Ersten Weltkrieges. Dieter Vorsteher. Histoires de famille: Cartes postales et culture de guerre (Paris: Noêsis. Stepháne Audoin-Rouzeau. Paul. ed.” in Rother. Französische Kriegsphotographie. which explains his early transcendence of the then-established hierarchy. to all of the historical and anthropological analyses (which ﬂourish today) of images produced in the time of the Great War. Rainer Rother (Berlin: Deutsches Historisches Museum-Ars Nicolai. Jean-Marie Linsolas. “Zur Geschichte der Kriegsphotographie des Ersten Weltkrieges.71 His war collection was guided.” in Rother. “Bilder für den Sieg: Das Plakat im Ersten Weltkrieg. The works of “war art” acquired by 71. Thomas Noll. 2008).COMMON KNOWLEDGE Figure 17. 103 – 71. Die letzten Tage. Photo: The Warburg Institute. 2000). ed. “Sinnbild und Erzählung: Zur Ikonographie des Krieges in den Zeitschriftenillustrationen 1914 bis 1918. “La photographie et la guerre: Un miroir du vrai?” in Vrai et faux dans la Grande Guerre. Die letzten Tage. Bodo von Dewitz. consequently. in which works of art rank well above other images in a crowded visual ﬁeld. 149 – 62. Gerhard Paul. 1914 – 18. Cf. Marie-Monique Huss. by anthropological concerns. 187 – 96 . Visual History: Ein Studienbuch (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht. London 74 and. 259 – 72. Alain Sayag. Die letzten Tage. . 1994). 163 – 76. Warburg Institute Archive. Krieg der Bilder: Die Visualisierung des modernen Krieges (Paderborn-Munich: Ferdinand Schöningh-Wilhelm Fink Verlag. Combattre: Une anthropologie historique de la guerre moderne (XIXe – XXIe siècle) (Paris: Le Seuil. 96 – 111. 99 – 145. 2004). 2004). “ ‘Wir sagten Adieu einer ganzen Epoche’ (Apollinaire).
censure et propagande. Audoin-Rouzeau.75 drafted an anthropology of war that Ernst Kantorowicz. Didi-Huber man the Library in Hamburg between 1914 and 1918 are outstanding for their mediocrity. between 1937 and 1939. but the 72. Georges Bataille. is not susceptible to temporal or other limits that a careful methodology might impose. unlike the events treated by art history. Kasten 117. Ralph Winkle. Prochasson. Georges • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 75 . “Mourir pour la patrie (Pro Patria Mori ) dans la pensée politique médiévale. 76. 494 – 501. 75 – 153. Ernst H. Xe – XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Gallimard. that fundamental motifs of the Mnemosyne project — like the “unsettling duality” of triumph and martyrdom.” in Encyclopédie de la Grande Guerre 1914 – 1918: Histoire et culture. Kantorowicz. and Franco Cardini would later ground historically. France Cardini. “Masse und Magie. War Pictures. Antoine Prost and Jay Winter.” in Mourir pour la patrie et autres textes (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. John Horne and Alan Kramer. Didi-Huberman. 1917). German Atrocities. 1914: A History of Denial (New Haven. intro. Cf. Ressemblance informe. 261 – 99.Dumézil. Cf. 1995). ed. Konrad Escher. ed.72 A psychomachia. Bologne: Società Editrice Il Mulino. Stéphane AudoinRouzeau and Jean-Jacques Becker (Paris: Bayard. 179 – 260. Histoire culturelle de la Grande Guerre. 1937 – 1939 (Paris: Gallimard. 78. Combattre. Simonetta Falasca Zamponi (Paris: Éditions Lignes and Manifestes. 1984). Denis Hollier. ed. or the crucial notion of “demonization”73 — were already at work in Warburg’s Kriegskartothek. Quatre essais de sociologie contemporaine (Paris: Olivier Perrin. Kunst. and it instead will launch a vast anthropology of images and an analysis of the beliefs that they reconﬁgure and ceaselessly retransform. ed. It is clear. Becker. Georges Dumézil. 1919). ed. Cf. 2004). 1996). La Sociologie sacrée du monde contemporain. Cf. Kasten 117 was the object of specialist attention because its subject.74 It is not by chance that the disastrous anthropomorphisms that Bataille and his friends examined in the journal Documents between 1929 and 1930 should have ended up — under the inﬂuence of Marcel Mauss’s work — as the theme of a Collège de sociologie whose discussions. 31 – 164. 1951). Anmerkungen zu einem Interpretament der Aberglaubensforschung während des Ersten Weltkriegs. Cf. Mario Isnenghi. Warburg. the “superstitions of war. Il mito della grande guerra (1989. 73. Heur et malheur du guerrier: Aspects mythiques de la fonction guer- rière chez les Indo-Européens (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. CT: Yale University Press. 1914 – 1918: Retours d’expériences. Le Collège de sociologie.. 75. Cf. 209 – 33. Cf. 1992). 77. 2004). 74. 403 – 59.78 but by now most have at least taken account of the difﬁculties intrinsic to distinguishing what are beliefs or rumors from what are facts or testimonies. 1969) (republished Paris: Flammarion.77 Some historians have written of the war from the perspective of myth. Garde-Reserve-Division (Selbstver.” 39 – 40. “Information. Penser la Grande Guerre: Un essai d’historiographie (Paris: Seuil. 105 – 41. 1. notably on the controversial question of “German atrocities.”79 The historian can legitimately try to distinguish true from false in this generalized “system of uncertainty. and 607 – 40.” entered directly into such an anthropological design.” in Korff. Roger Caillois.” constantly interweaving its competing discourses. 451 – 64 . 2001). Kriegsbilder. for example. La Culture de la guerre. Krieg und Krieger: Zur Geschichte der Kriegsdarstellungen (Zurich: Rascher. Olivier Forcade. to “Mnémosyne. 1917). 2004).76 Much recent historiography of the Great War has adopted this anthropological viewpoint. 1997). 79. Imperial War Museum (London: Walter Judd. 13 – 14 and 69 – 121.
prophéties et superstitions de la Guerre (Paris: La Renaissance du Livre. à la Michel Foucault — will situate any critique of language and images on another level. ed. To the curious observer it has offered an abundant and picturesque selection of the most varied facts. in this case deﬁning the indissoluble 80. The psychohistorical viewpoint associated with the Nachleben made such paradoxes of temporality intelligible. Yves de La Brière.” Examples of this distinction abound.anthropologist — or the archaeologist of discourses. Pierre Caizergues and Michael Décaudin (Paris: Gallimard. written in the same year. the global conﬂict could not escape this law. Waldemar Deonna.” with Yves de la Brière’s critique. 492. in the trivial sense of the term). these rumors provoke hallucinations. Acting on weak and sensitive brains. at a much more fundamental level. contrast Lucien Roure’s 1917 “Superstitions du front de guerre” with Guillaume Apollinaire’s more cheerful and far less accusatory “Superstitions de guerre. 1993). ﬁve years ago.” L’Anthropologie 27 (1916): 243 – 68.” also of 1917. Lucience Roure. and in particular in wartime. Cf. “The Increase of Superstitions in Times of War.82 In 1918. Albert Dauzat devoted a book to the “legends and superstitions of war. since they correspond to the general state of mind. Contrast Waldemar Deonna’s article of 1916. Albert Dauzat. as dangers multiply. as well as multiple — appearance around us.80 Warburg characterized that level as Kulturwissenschaft — and just as one must not confuse the Kriegskartothek of Warburg with the patriotic Kriegssammlungen that were its contemporaries. Le destin de l’Empire allemand et les oracles prophétiques (Paris: Beauchesne. of which we would not have suspected. by increasing the general anxiety and credulousness. are quick to be accepted by the simple minds of the masses. Légendes.” in which the positivist viewpoint. is clearly stated: All troubled periods.83 COMMON KNOWLEDGE 76 Against this simplistic viewpoint (which is an “evolutionist” perspective. 81. so one must dissociate the problems posed by Kasten 117 from the positivist issues raised in historical writings of the period that classed the “superstitions of war” as simply “errors.” Études 153 (1917): 708 – 32. 83. Finally. . deriving straight from Auguste Comte or Gustave Le Bon. even prophetic visions. give birth to a great number of false rumors that. 1916). Prochasson and Rasmussen. “Contributions à l’étude des Superstitions de guerre. the Warburgian analysis of the Nachleben rendered possible an understanding. “Superstitions du front de guerre. of prophetic oracles that proliferated from the beginning of the conﬂict. Vrai et faux. 82. Guillaume Apollinaire. “La recrudescence des superstitions en temps de guerre et les statues à clous. the rumors tend to waken and develop ancestral superstitions. 1918). 7. the possible — and fast. II.” in Oeuvres en prose complètes. Despite the advanced state of our civilization. 9 – 32. with Warburg showing himself in 1916 – 17 to be once again close to Freud’s analyses. of the anachronistic coexistence of a hypermodern war with so many archaisms of social behavior.81 Or again.
88 Warburg situated these phenomena in an • Wa r b u r g ’s Ha u n t e d H o u s e 77 . Arranging and rearranging on his worktable the images of his Kriegskartothek. II. Entre deuil et mémoire: La Grande Guerre dans l’histoire culturelle de l’Europe. Kasten 117. Cf. relating to contemporary history (ﬁg. 1994). Conférences d’introduction à la psychanalyse (Paris: Gallimard. 245 – 94 . Didi-Huber man relations between psychical “evolution” and “regression. Gottfried Korff. “Les armes de demain: Batailles au chloracétophénol.”84 In 1925 Walter Benjamin would rethink how a war so technologically novel brought on a psychotic state in which chemical weaponry — clouds of gas — came to seem like ghosts. Mnemosyne. Claudia Wedepohl. On Claire Ferchaud: Ferchaud.89 But as Nietzsche had done in his time. 86.85 Warburg. and as Bataille would soon do as well. 325 – 68. Montsurs: Éditions Résiac. 181 – 213. 67 – 91. 15 – 55 and 103 – 38.” in Korff. 3 (dated July 2. 1983). Walter Benjamin. Mission nationale (Paris: Librairie Pierre Téqui. on the religious and political imagery of another period of schism and cultural crisis — the Reformation.” in Korff. Sigmund Freud. popedonkeys.86 His analysis of “war superstitions” doubtless led to his revising his ideas about the Nachleben at work in the psychomachia of his time. La Guerre et la foi: De la mort à la mémoire. Aby Warburg. Hence it is essential to recall the coexistence of this Kriegskartothek with Warburg’s research. Grundbegriffe II. “Im Zeichen des Saturn: Vorläuﬁge Notizen zu Warburgs Aberglaubensforschung im Ersten Weltkrieg. “La divination païenne et antique dans les écrits et les images à l’époque de Luther. 431 – 53.” Essais ﬂorentins (Paris: Klincksieck. and other monstrous sows of Lutheran propaganda. Notes autobiographiques. 1914 – 1930 ( Paris: Armand.87 We should not be surprised to ﬁnd in the ﬁles of Kasten 117 analyses of wartime spiritualist phenomena (apparitions of the dead) and mystical phenomena (the symmetrical cases of Barbara Weigand in Germany and Claire Ferchaud in France) that have since been studied in detail by historians.” thus approached the Great War not only as a struggle against and in defense of certain ideas. “ ‘Agitationsmittel für die Bearbeitung der Ungelehrten’: Warburgs Reformationsstudien zwischen Kriegsbeobachtung historisch-kritischer Forschung und Verfolgungswahn. Annette Becker. 1929). haunted as it was by chimerical beings.anthropology or psychohistory in order to verify the “survivals” at work in each cultural symptom as it was added to the Kasten 117 collection. 2010). in the same years. Jay Winter. appears to be an exercise in political divination or presentiment. whether consciously or not. 1). Cf. 89.” in Romantisme et critique de la civilisation (Paris: Payot. Claudia Schlager. Warburg. 85. Claude Mouton. 1990). monk-calves. but also as a struggle with ghosts — a struggle in which the whole of European civilization was engaged. Warburg played dangerously with the conﬂagration he was investigating. Christophe Jaquet (Paris: Armand Colin. Kasten 117. as unfathomable as they were ruthless. 1974). Cf. 84. was Warburg not making himself the soothsayer or haruspex of the psychomachia that enfolded and passed through him? Like the ﬁrst plate of Mnemosyne. 25 – 38. au chlorure de diphénylarsine et au sulfure d’éthyle dichloré. 2). 215 – 43. so the last plate. 1999). 87. Kasten 117. trans. relating to divination (ﬁg. “Seherinnen und Seismographen: Ausschnitthaftes zur Trouvaille ‘Barbara Weigand’ aus Aby Warburgs Kriegskartothek. 107 – 11.” in Korff. 2008). 88.Colin. Au plus fort de la tourmente: Claire Ferchaud (1978. who deﬁned the history of images as a “history of ghosts for grown-ups.
His Kriegskartothek in this way differs radically from the German Kriegssammlungen and from the epic narratives of Jünger. that Warburg’s atlas (and his own role as a modern Atlas) came about to show. 2:276 – 79. that the varied meanings of the Latin word superstes all point in the same direction. Émile Benveniste. The word means “survivor” and “testimony” but also “superstition. “the one who remains. COMMON KNOWLEDGE 78 90. Still. This capacity for presence is fascinating and worrisome at the same time. Benveniste.” of “getting over.” not above but beyond or after some occurrence.” Emile Benveniste showed that superstes signiﬁes. His Library remains haunted to this day. (Paris: Minuit. then. Hence the superstes is the soothsayer of a history (whether past. Vocabulaire. it must be said that Warburg came unsettlingly close to his objects of study — the images that he regarded as so many busy ghosts. . despite the dangers inherent in the realization.We might say. Le Vocabulaire des institutions indoeuropéennes. and tampering with it is inadvisable. 2:276. 2 vols. Does it not characterize the poetics of all great historians? Whatever the case. foremost.91 By approaching the extremes of the Great War’s cultural phenomena. Warburg withdrew to an area of thought above questions of truth and falsity. alien practice: a “Babylonian” or “Etruscan” practice — to distinguish the dangerous supertitio from their own ofﬁcial religio. 91. we know that it is the capacity for presence that brought the Romans — for whom divination was an exogenous. 1969). Superstes involves speciﬁcally the act of “surviving.90 The superstes assumes the suprestitio as “the property of being present” as a witness to an event from which he or she is far away in space and time. present. with their patriotic and bellicose religion. and far away from any religion. or future) in which he or she did not physically participate.” as we say of someone who “survived an ordeal” or “got over a bereavement” and thus has “been a witness” to it.
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