Drilling Through Hard Boards

133 Political Stories

Alexander Kluge

Translated by Wieland Hoban

With additional text by Reinhard Jirgl, translated by Iain Galbraith


5.5 x 7.72 inches, 232pp. July 2017

ISBN : 9780857424280

Rs  750.00 (HB)
$30.00 (HB)
£17.50 (HB)

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It was Max Weber who famously described politics as 'a strong, slow drilling through hard boards with both passion and judgement'. Taking this as his starting point, Alexander Kluge examines in 133 stories the tools available to political actors in the hard struggle for power. Weber's driller is certainly a suitable figure to embody intelligent tenacity as a precondition for political change. But what is a hammer in the business of politics? What is a 'subtle touch'? Finally, all these questions lead to a single one: What is the 'political' in the first place?


As a literary man, the question that interests Kluge is: How does one tell stories about this? Politics, he says, consists of everyday feelings in a special state of matter. It is everywhere. It animates private lives as well as the public sphere, and hence in his stories, as well as the major figure, we also find the small, unknown, almost nameless ones: Elfriede Eilers alongside Pericles, the Chilean miners rescued from a depth of 700 metres next to Napolean, or the sensitive nape of three-month-old child's neck besides Alexander the Great. 


'More than a few of Kluge's many books are essential, brilliant achievements. None are without great interest.' Susan Sontag.

Alexander Kluge is one of the major German fiction writers of the late 20th century and an important social critic. As a filmmaker, he is credited with the launch of the New German Cinema movement.


Wieland Hoban is a British composer who lives in Germany. He has translated several works from German, including many by Theodor W. Adorno.

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