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In Karl Kraus and The Discourse of Modernity (Northwestern University Press, 2020), Ari Linden analyzes Karl Kraus’s oeuvre while engaging in the conversation about modernism and modernity, which is shaped and conditioned by the already post-postmodern condition.

This perspective opens up the exploration of modernist projects and allows a discussion that goes beyond a specific time-period and invites us to locate the conversation about Kraus, as well as about the modernist discourse, in the context of the present moment.

In his book, Linden outlines the most salient features of Kraus’s writing and establishes an ethic and aesthetic matrix to explore the variations and renditions that the modernist projects may promote and welcome. The book specifies Kraus’s aesthetic engagement with satire, as well as with the exploration of the language limitations (if any) and with intellectual conversations, which serve as responses to political and historical events.

The latter makes Linden’s project particularly relevant and up-to-date for the contemporary moment: Kraus’s oeuvre helps further disclose how writing can be engaged as a key instrument not only for the construction of the individual’s perception of the self and others, but also for the construction of ideological paradigms, encapsulating power and control on both individual and public levels.

Karl Kraus and The Discourse of Modernity brings modernity and modernism to the forefront of the post-postmodernist concerns and offers an insightful perspective on how a writer responds to history and politics while interrupting the discourse with their aesthetic renditions.

Ari Linden is an assistant professor in the Department of German Studies at the University of Kansas.

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