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Is the Artist Present?

What role is left for the public intellectual of our times and what does it consist of? In 1941 Stefan Zweig addressed the founding gathering of PEN in exile in New York to express his sense of shame on behalf of all writers and intellectuals who had become implicated in Nazism by sharing a language and cultural heritage with the ideology endangering Western civilization. Today, the public artist/intellectual’s dependence on corporate and state financing, along with the failure to communicate with mass audiences, raise troubling questions about collaboration and who owns the public sphere.

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