Book number: 89357 Product format: Hardback Author: THERESIA ENZENSBERGER

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Bibliophile price £2.75
Published price £14.99

It is 1921 in Berlin. Luise Schilling lives here in her father's deeply conservative household and longs to tear down the past and build a new future and through much hard work finally realises her dream, being accepted at Weimar's Bauhaus School to study architecture. But upon arriving, rather than the cutting-edge avant-garde school of design she was expecting, she encounters a fractured social world of mystics and formalists, communists and fascists and the line between the rigid past and hopeful future turns out to be a great deal more blurred that she had thought. In her search for community she gets involved with a cult-like spiritualist group, falling in love Jakob, an elusive art student. Luise's great ambitions have little to do with paying homage to great men, but being surrounded by luminaries like Gropius, Kandinsky and Klee with their attendant egos and sycophants, this is not always easy. As her peers retreat into a world of self-regard and jargon, Berlin begins to erupt into street violence and civil unrest and Luise has to decide where she stands: technology or art? Romanticism or avant-garde? Populism or the youth movement? In her search she encounters themes, ideas and utopian visions that still ring true today, a culture war that is still familiar. Not just a beautifully rendered novel, Enzensberger's book is also a history of the Bauhaus, the seminal German Arts and Crafts school founded by Walter Gropius which, though only operational from 1919 to 1933, is considered by many to be the most revolutionary artistic movement of the 20th century. It was shut down by Hitler who considered it a hotbed for fanatical communist ideology, but its traditions endured, particularly in the US, where many of its members fled after its forced closure. 236pp.

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ISBN 9780349700816

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