Drilling through Hard Boards: 133 Political Stories
Author: Alexander Kluge
Translated by Wieland Hoban
9780857427014 | PB | pp. 352+xiii | 2019 | Seagull Books
In Drilling Through Hard Boards, through over 100 stories, the author describes various facets of politics and helps us understand what it is.
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Max Weber famously described politics as “a strong, slow drilling through hard boards with both passion and judgment.” Taking this as his inspiration, Alexander Kluge brings readers yet another literary masterpiece. Drilling through Hard Boards is a kaleidoscopic meditation on the tools available to those who struggle for power. Weber’s metaphorical drill certainly embodies intelligent tenacity as a precondition for political change. But what is a hammer in the business of politics, Kluge wonders, and what is a subtle touch? Eventually, we learn that all questions of politics lead to a single one: what is political in the first place?
In the book, Kluge masterfully unspools more than one hundred vignettes, through which it becomes clear that the political is more often than not personal. Politics are everywhere in our everyday lives, so along with the stories of major political figures, we also find here the small, mostly unknown ones: Elfriede Eilers alongside Pericles, Chilean miners next to Napoleon, a three-month-old baby beside Alexander the Great. Drilling through Hard Boards is not just Kluge’s newest fiction, it is a masterpiece of political thought.
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About the Contributors
The author is one of the major German fiction writers of the late twentieth century and an important social critic. As a filmmaker, he is credited with the launch of the New German Cinema movement.
The translator is a British composer who lives in Germany. He has translated several works from German, including many by Theodor W. Adorno.
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