Zig Zag: The Politics of Culture and Vice Versa
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated by Linda Haverty Rugg, et al.
The New Press, 1998, 342 pp., $25
Here is a cherished anecdote told every now and then at Wesleyan University, where I teach. It involves the German poet, essayist, and social critic Hans Magnus Enzensberger, who had come to spend a year, 1967 – 1968, as a fellow at Wesleyan’s Center for Advanced Studies. During his first semester, so the story goes, Enzensberger found himself increasingly disillusioned with American politics and with what he saw as an oppressive atmosphere that precluded active engagement among the students and faculty. He felt detached, stifled, incapable of completing his two-term stint. Thus, after only three months of residency, he abandoned Middletown, Connecticut for Havana, Cuba—a place where he believed he would be far more apt to fulfill his ideologi...
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