Translations from, to and within South Eastern Europe


Vandalismus. Gewalt gegen Kultur

Demandt, Alexander.


Demolition or protection of historical monuments? About the proper treatment of  unloved history. How to come to terms with evidence of the past is always an issue in the public domain. The argument about the demolition of the "Palast der Republik" in Berlin, the headquarters of the former German Democratic Republics's People's Chamber, is only one of numberous examples. Not only do the preservationists and urban planners face the dilemma every day of whether  you cannot or do not want to preserve everything. On the other hand, neither can you not take care of those buildings, just because it does not satisfy the spirit of the time. But how to create the criteria for how to treat our own and foreign cultural goods? How to scale the loss of irrecoverable historic witnesses to tha past,  compared to the demands of modernity or the human desire for symoblic destruction, precisely in the times of drastic changes? In his new book, Alexander Demandt explains a phenomenon that has been only episodically discussed: vandalism, as a crime against our own culture. He is not dealing with pubertal crimes as graffiti, committed by youngsters or psychopatic vandalism, as it is in attacking famous painitngs. The subject is the official cultural crime on the one hand, connected to war, revolution and modernisation, a sort of vandalism which mostly is intentional in destroying the symbols of our reminiscence. In a fulminant cultural-historical overview from ancient times until the present, Demandt describes the most momentuous, the unusual and the forgotten examples of cultural destruction: he embraces the old Orient, Greek and Rome (cultural crime as barbarism), Byzantium and the European Medieval, the Reformation (iconoclasm in the confessionalization), the Renaissance and the French Revolution and our century (the destrution of culture in the name of progress).

Vandalismus. Gewalt gegen Kultur was translated into Croatian by Nikica Petrak and published by Izdanja Antibarbarus, Zagreb.

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