Kluge’s genius is for exposing those little interruptions, those moments that escape the totalizing systems.

Ben Lerner, Artforum

Alexander Kluge

Alexander Kluge, born in German in 1932, is a world-famous author and filmmaker (his twenty-three films include Yesterday Girl, The Female Patriot, and The Candidate), a lawyer, and a media magnate. He has won German’s highest literary award, the George Büchner Prize in addition to his four gold lions from the Venice Film Festival.

cover image of the book Temple of the Scapegoat

Temple of the Scapegoat

Combining fact and fiction, each of the one hundred and two tales of Alexander Kluge’s Temple of the Scapegoat (dotted with photos of famous operas and their stars) compresses a lifetime of feeling and thought: Kluge is deeply engaged with the opera and an inventive wellspring of narrative notions. The titles of his stories suggest his many turns of mind: “Total Commitment,” “Freedom,” “Reality Outrivals Theater,” “The Correct Slowing-Down at the Transitional Point Between Terror and an Inkling of Freedom,” “A Crucial Character (Among Persons None of Whom Are Who They Think They Are),” and “Deadly Vocal Power vs. Generosity in Opera.” An opera, Kluge says, is a blast furnace of the soul, telling of the great singer Leonard Warren who died onstage, having literally sung his heart out. Kluge introduces a Tibetan scholar who realizes that opera “is about comprehension and passion. The two never go together. Passion overwhelms comprehension. Comprehension kills passion. This appears to be the essence of all operas, says Huang Tse-we: she also comes to understand that female roles face the harshest fates. Compared to the mass of soprano victims (out of 86,000 operas, 64,000 end with the death of the soprano), the sacrice of tenors is small (out of 86,000 operas 1,143 tenors are a write-off).”

Translated from the German by Isabel Cole, Donna Stonecipher, and Martin Chalmers

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cover image of the book Cinema Stories

Cinema Stories

by Alexander Kluge

Translated by Martin Brady

The thirty-eight tales of Cinema Stories combine fact and fiction, and they all revolve around movie-making. The book compresses a lifetime of feeling, thought, and practice: Kluge— considered the father of New German Cinema—is an inventive wellspring of narrative notions. “The power of his prose,” as Small Press noted, “exudes the sort of pregnant richness one might find in the briefest scenarios of unknown films.” Cinema Stories is a treasure box of strikingly original writing cinematic lore.

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cover image of the book The Devil's Blindspot

The Devil's Blindspot

by Alexander Kluge

Translated by Michael Hulse

The 173 stories collected in Alexander Kluge’s The Devil’s Blind Spot range from a dozen pages to just half a page in length: these tales are like novels in pill form. The whole is arranged in five chapters. The first group illustrates the little-known virtues of the Devil; the second explores love (from Kant to the opera); the third (entitled “Sarajevo Is Everywhere”) addresses power; the fourth considers the cosmos; and the fifth ranges all our “knowledge” against our feelings. Stories such as “Origin of Iraq as a Case for the Files” and “The Devil in the White House” display Alexander Kluge’s special genius for making found material his own. From the wreck of the Kursk to failed love affairs to Chernobyl, Kluge alights on precise details, marching us step by step through a black comedy of the exact stages of thinking that lead to disaster. These semi-documentary stories radiate what W.G. Sebald termed “Kluge’s intellectual steadfastness” as he undertakes his “archaeological excavation of the slag-heaps of our collective existence.”

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Kluge’s genius is for exposing those little interruptions, those moments that escape the totalizing systems.

Ben Lerner, Artforum

Comet-like fragments that whistle through the European past and present

Times Literary Supplement

Elegant provocations to seize an opera addict’s imagination.


Finely drawn and often ingenious analyses of opera as a genre… Unlike anything Kluge has ever written before…


A bold, galvanizing hybrid of fiction, interview, film theory, German history, scientific inquiry, and his cosmology of cinema.

KGB Bar Book Review

Alexander Kluge, that most enlightened of writers.

W. G. Sebald

Essential, brilliant.

Susan Sontag

Alexander Kluge is a gigantic figure in the German cultural landscape. He exemplifies—along with Passolini—what is most vigorous and original in the European idea of the artist as intellectual, the intellectual as artist.

Susan Sontag
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