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Spirit of the Place
From Mauthausen to MoMA

Péter György is professor at ELTE University Budapest, Institute for Fine Art and Media Theory, Head of Doctoral Program in Film, Media and Contemporary Culture


Published by the Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS), distributed by CEU Press

"In this extraordinary book, Péter György takes us on a fascinating journey into the often unsettling and shadowy worlds of public memory and memorializing in Europe and the United States of America. His dazzling and insightful readings of museums, monuments, libraries and other memory-spaces, force us to rethink many contemporary orthodoxies about recollective practices, cultural heritage and the very relationship between past, present and future." - Sharon Macdonald, University of Manchester


"Péter György’s excellent book is a rare example of fresh, wide-ranging prose about the complex relationship between history and the media, memory and art, politics and culture. György has a Wunderkammerlike imagination. And with a storyteller’s eye for detail, he reconsiders, among much else, the Holocaust in terms of the architecture of mass murder, reminding us how our perceptions depend not on picturing drama through films or television but on an absense of visual spectacles and a close reconsideration of the true relics of megalomania. He visits Freud museums in St. Petersburg, London and Vienna, which leads him to an exhibition of Robert Longo drawings and then to a meditation on Austrian self-reflection and, in the manner of an archeologist, to further layers of meaning, inscribed in the institutions and symbols of the past. Likewise, with the Hungarian uprising in 1956, which Hungary has largely erased from its past, and in the process lost touch with itself, ominously. All in all, a book full of insight and implication." -Michael Kimmelman, New York Times


Acknowledgement; 1. The topography of memory. The spirit of the name and the place: Auschwitz/Oświęcim, Ettersberg/Buchenwald, Mauthausen; 2. Oedipus at Colonus, Freud (museum) in exile. A cancelled German, a German Jew; 3. The empty couch—PSYCHOanalysis. Freud exhibition in the Jüdisches Museum, Berlin; 4. Frederik Ruysch, Sigmund Freud, Osip Mandelstam (Necrorealism in Petropolis); 5. Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; 6. Museum of Ara Pacis, Rome; 7. The disintegration of memory—The unreadable city. The 1956 memorial, Budapest; 8. CECI TUERA CELA (This will kill that). Hommage à S. M. (1944–2005); 9. Clinic and church—The second museum age; Subject index; Name index

286 pages, with color photos
978-963-9776-33-3 hardcover $50.00/ €34.00 / £29.00