by Alexander Kluge
translated by Alexander Booth
Seagull Books, 2024
Cloth: 978-1-80309-324-6 | eISBN: 978-1-80309-325-3

Alexander Kluge explores the madcap, multifaceted world of the circus through a global geopolitical lens.

The circus has fascinated Alexander Kluge ever since he was a child, and his devotion to it has been preserved throughout his cinematic output and his most recent literary work. In the circus, he finds both the shadow image of work and the epitome of human excellence, from love to war to revolution. As surfaces onto which utopias are projected, these elaborate performances offer a tangible representation of developments within civilization, with its nearly infinite possibilities and sometimes inevitable crashes—from the excited roar of the crowd to death on the floor of the ring.
In Circus Commentary, Kluge’s montage of modernities moves back and forth through time and space, expressing his unique mix of fictional and non-fictional reports, histories, and stories through semantic fields, images, and film sequences inserted in the book via QR codes. We encounter a broad panorama of perplexed artists and sophisticated surgeons cavorting alongside fighter pilots, sans-culottes drunk with dreams of omnipotence, and, most importantly, animals—to whose superhuman performances, this book creates a lasting memorial.

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