”To my astonishment, there are but few charismatic idols in the 400-year tradition of the bourgeois industrial revolution: Washington, Jefferson, the women in the Paris marketplace in 1789—those female freedom fighters marching on Versailles and bringing the King to Paris—the young face of the revolutionary Saint-Just, newly returned as commander from a victorious battle in northern France. But the most brilliant example—besides the portraits of Immanuel Kant, of Euler the mathematician, of Hölderlin, Novalis, Kleist, Edgar Allan Poe, and Hemingway—is still THE picture of Bonaparte from New Year’s Eve, 1799. What I write of here is confined to this face, this brief flicker of hope.“
Alexander Kluge’s Commentary on Napoleon is a study made up of stories, cinematic images, diary entries, and three drawings by Georg Baselitz. Narration as a way of weaving oneself into history.
Alexander Kluge, born 1932 in Halberstadt, is a film-maker, writer, TV producer, philosopher, and lawyer. Spector Books has published six of his books in recent years, including The Snows of Venice (with Ben Lerner, 2019) and Parsifal Container (with Georg Baselitz, 2020).