“Audiences waned in the years following World War II, and the Grand Guignol closed its doors in 1962. Management attributed the closure in part to the fact that the theatre’s faux horrors had been eclipsed by the actual events of the Holocaust two decades earlier. “We could never equal Buchenwald,” said its final director, Charles Nonon. “Before the war, everyone felt that what was happening onstage was impossible. Now we know that these things, and worse, are possible in reality.””

From: Grand Guignol – Wikipedia

“”The Theatre of the Great Puppet”) – known as the Grand Guignol – was a theatre in the Pigalle district of Paris (at 20 bis, rue Chaptal). From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962, it specialised in naturalistic horror shows. Its name is often used as a general term for graphic, amoral horror entertainment”

From: Grand Guignol – Wikipedia

“Brecht and Benjamin’s high standards derived from their view that the formal radicalism of literary modernism was an unavoidable precondition of socially effective criticism – a view that also explains the ease with which they were able to connect with the artistic avant-garde. It was important to maintain the resulting tension. Any “scientific” founding of criticism had to respect the “technical standard” of literature and make it productive, even if this clashed with the taste-based criticisms of the middle classes. The crisis in the 1920s and ’30s seemed to serve Brecht and Benjamin perfectly in their aim of confronting the “bourgeois” camp with the progressive elements inherent in their own literature, driving these beyond themselves, so to speak. Benjamin later wrote: “The journal was meant to contribute to the propaganda of dialectical materialism by applying it to questions that the bourgeois intelligentsia is forced to acknowledge as those most particularly characteristic of itself.””

From: Utopian failing: “Krise und Kritik” and “Revue Internationale”

“During the Great Depression, c.1930, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht sat down together to discuss plans for a journal (other leading figures in the project were Herbert Ihering, Bernard von Brentano, Ernst Bloch, Siegfried Kracauer, Alfred Kurella and Georg Lukács). The literary historian Erdmut Wizisla has rescued the plans for this ambitious project from oblivion. Krise und Kritik, the magazine’s working title, makes clear that Benjamin and Brecht were setting out to broaden the concept of criticism by assigning it a crucial mediating role between aesthetic commitment and worldly engagement. The criticism in their magazine was not supposed to remain confined to literature and the theatre, but rather would embrace all areas of life. Wizisla summarized the editorial discussions as follows: “Criticism, as envisaged by the participants in the discussions, was drastic, effective and consequential, a criticism which […] [in Brecht’s words] […] would be perceived in such a way that ‘politics is its continuation by other means’.””

From: Utopian failing: “Krise und Kritik” and “Revue Internationale”

“Hitler’s government compelled him to leave university and do manual labor, some of it in a concentration camp. Finally, toward the end of the war, he was forced into hiding. Blumenberg would look back on this period with great political and personal frustration. In personal terms, he regarded it as a huge loss of time. To make up for this loss, he reduced his sleep schedule in later years, filling the extra waking hours with reading and writing.”

From: The Myths of Enlightenment