Karl Toepfer Publishes Article in “Metropolenzauber. Sexuelle Moderne und urbaner Wahnsinn”

Congratulations to Karl Toepfer on the publication of: “Perverse Erotik und die Vision der ekstatischen Stadt” (translated into German by Dorothea Loebbermann), in Metropolenzauber. Sexuelle Moderne und urbaner Wahnsinn, edited by Gabriele Tietze and Dorothea Dornhof, Vienna: Bohlau 2014.

This article discusses different approaches to research on perverse sexuality during the Weimar Republic and the discovery that accurate, comprehensive knowledge of the this subject depended on participation in rather than detachment from the forms of behavior the researchers explored.


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“Hero und Leander,” photo by Manasse, Vienna (1930), from Erich Wulffen, Die Erotik in der Photographie, Berlin: Verlag für Kulturforschung (1931), 11. This voluptuously staged photo of a scene from ancient Greek myth nevertheless exudes a seductive aura of modernity as it contrasts the reclining or “defeated” male figure with the rising or “yearning” female figure, reversing the conventional or “classical” representation of “active” male identity contrasted with “passive” female identity. However, the image also suggests that female ascent comes at the sacrifice of male beauty. Unlike much Nacktkultur photography and indeed some artworks of the pre-War era, the staged photography of the Weimar Republic tends to show little, if any, inclination to represent “Adam and Eve” couples who are equal in their emanation of power.

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