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A Companion to Werner Herzog

Brad Prager (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-6140-7
2600 pages
March 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Werner Herzog (1444361406) cover image
A Companion to Werner Herzog showcases over two dozen original scholarly essays examining nearly five decades of filmmaking by one of the most acclaimed and innovative figures in world cinema.

  • First collection in twenty years dedicated to examining Herzog’s expansive career
  • Features essays by international scholars and Herzog specialists
  • Addresses a broad spectrum of the director’s films, from his earliest works such as Signs of Life and Fata Morgana to such recent films as The Bad Lieutenant and Encounters at the End of the World
  • Offers creative, innovative approaches guided by film history, art history, and philosophy
  • Includes a comprehensive filmography that also features a list of the director’s acting appearances and opera productions
  • Explores the director’s engagement with music and the arts, his self-stylization as a global filmmaker, his Bavarian origins, and even his love-hate relationship with the actor Klaus Kinski
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Notes on Contributors viii

Acknowledgments xiv

Werner Herzog’s Companions: The Consolation of Images 1
Brad Prager

Part I Critical Approaches and Contexts 33

1 Herzog and Auteurism: Performing Authenticity 35
Brigitte Peucker

2 Physicality, Difference, and the Challenge of Representation: Werner Herzog in the Light of the New Waves 58
Lúcia Nagib

3 The Pedestrian Ecstasies of Werner Herzog: On Experience, Intelligence, and the Essayistic 80
Timothy Corrigan

Part II Herzog and the Inter-arts 99

4 Werner Herzog’s View of Delft: Or, Nosferatu and the Still Life 101
Kenneth S. Calhoon

5 Moving Stills: Herzog and Photography 127
Stefanie Harris

6 Archetypes of Emotion: Werner Herzog and Opera 149
Lutz Koepnick

7 Coming to Our Senses: The Viewer and Herzog’s Sonic Worlds 168
Roger Hillman

8 Death for Five Voices : Gesualdo’s “Poetic Truth” 187
Holly Rogers

9 Demythologization and Convergence: Herzog’s Late Genre Pictures and the Rogue Cop Film in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call—New Orleans 208
Jaimey Fisher

Part III Herzog’s German Encounters 231

10 “I don’t like the Germans”: Even Herzog Started in Bavaria 233
Chris Wahl

11 Herzog’s Heart of Glass and the Sublime of Raw Materials 256
Noah Heringman

12 The Ironic Ecstasy of Werner Herzog: Embodied Vision in The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner 281
Roger F. Cook

13 Tantrum Love: The Fiendship of Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog 301
Lance Duerfahrd

Part IV Herzog’s Far-Flung Cinema Africa, Australia, the Americas, and Beyond 327

14 Werner Herzog’s African Sublime 329
Erica Carter

15 Didgeridoo, or the Search for the Origin of the Self: Werner Herzog’s Where the Green Ants Dream and Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines 356
Manuel Köppen

16 A March into Nothingness: The Changing Course of Herzog’s Indian Images 371
Will Lehman

17 The Case of Herzog: Re-Opened 393
Eric Ames

18 The Veil Between: Werner Herzog’s American TV Documentaries 416
John E. Davidson

19 Herzog’s Chickenshit 445
Rembert Hüser

20 Encountering Werner Herzog at the End of the World 466
Reinhild Steingröver

Part V Toward the Limits of Experience Philosophical Approaches 485

21 Perceiving the Other in the Land of Silence and Darkness 487
Randall Halle

22 Werner Herzog’s Romantic Spaces 510
Laurie Johnson

23 The Melancholy Observer: Landscape, Neo-Romanticism, and the Politics of Documentary Filmmaking 528
Matthew Gandy

24 Portrait of the Chimpanzee as a Metaphysician: Parody and Dehumanization in Echoes from a Somber Empire 547
Guido Vitiello

25 Herzog and Human Destiny: The Philosophical Purposiveness of the Filmmaker 566
Alan Singer

Filmography 587
Compiled by Chris Wahl

Index 611

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Brad Prager is Associate Professor of German and an active member of the Program in Film Studies at the University of Missouri. He has authored two monographs: Aesthetic Vision and German Romanticism: Writing Images (2007) and The Cinema of Werner Herzog: Aesthetic Ecstasy and Truth (2007). His articles have appeared in New German Critique, Studies in Documentary Film, Art History, and in the Modern Language Review. Most recently he has co-edited the collections The Collapse of the Conventional: German Film and its Politics at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (2010) and Visualizing the Holocaust: Documents, Aesthetics, Memory (2008).
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“Brad Prager has collected together a world class and diverse group of scholars to map out with great lucidity the complex interconnectivity of Herzog’s equally diverse oeuvre.”
- Paul Cooke, University of Leeds

“Werner Herzog towers as one of world cinema’s most engaging, energetic, and enigmatic directors. A Companion to Werner Herzog charts the career of an extraordinary artist whose only predictable feature remains his unpredictability.”
- Gerd Gemünden, Dartmouth College

“Contrary to his self-presentation, Werner Herzog is a filmmaker profoundly influenced by the history of film, art, and literature and an integral part of the spatial imaginaries and aesthetic sensibilities of the postwar period. It is the main achievement of this anthology expertly put together by Brad Prager to highlight these connections with rich and insightful articles on Herzog and painting, photography, opera, geography, documentary, and the essay film. And at last, we understand the strange power exerted by the chicken in Stroszek…”
- Sabine Hake, The University of Texas at Austin

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