Subject: Murder or Genocide: A History of 'Ends' and 'Means'.
24 August 2015
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
My visit this summer to Vienna included a stop at the famous Café Central and at the bookstore Shakespeare & Company, inspired of course by the original establishment in Paris. At the first, we saw where Freud ate pastry and Trotsky played chess; at the second, I promptly found a used copy of Stefan Zweig’s book, The World of Yesterday (1942). This famous literary document describes the decline of bourgeois society at the turn of the century and catastrophic events of the first and second world wars.
In the second half of this book, Zweig captures the madness of war, and his chapter on “The First Hours of the 1914 War” seem descriptive of the almost unbelievable events we are witnessing (or trying not to see) today. At the top of his last chapter, “The Death Throes of Peace,” Zweig quotes from Shakespeare’s Juluis Caesar:
The sun of Rome is set. Our day is gone.
Clouds, dews and daggers come; our deeds are done.
A dark comedy inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig was produced last year by filmmaker Wesley Anderson, in an almost surrealistic production, entitled The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Meanwhile, reality asserts itself, reaching from the recent past into the future. Beyond the complacent belles letters of contemporary artists and intellectuals, we find an almost unimaginable deadly game being played by world leaders, drunk on their power to dominate their flocks of mindless sheep and to steal vital resources from others on behalf of their corporate masters . . . .
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
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