Obscene History. The Two Sedlmayrs

Ian Verstegen


The following article proposes a new interpretation of Hans Sedlmayr’s politics, which thereby achieves a more successful understanding of his work. Seeking to reconcile pro­gressive and totalitarian elements of Sedlmayr’s thought, his stance is characterized as «Na­tional Bolshevist». Consistent with this view, there are two phases detected in Sedlmayr’s outlook, an early cosmopolitan phase and a later more symptomological cultural criticism. Seeking to nuance the complexity of politics in the 1930s, in the end it is nevertheless argued that it is impossible to link tightly Sedlmayr’s historical pronouncements with his politics.

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The header image is elaborated from a manuscript by Peter Handke (see current issue, p. 2)