Given Herzog’s own pronouncement that ‘film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates,’ it is not surprising that his work has aroused ambivalent and contradictory responses. Visually and philosophically ambitious and at the same time provocatively eccentric, Herzog’s films have been greeted equally by extreme adulation and extreme condemnation.

Even as Herzog’s rebellious images have gained him a reputation as a master of the German New Wave, he has been attacked for indulging in a romantic naiveté and wilful self-absorption. To his hardest critics, Herzog’s films appear as little more than Hollywood fantasies disguised as high seriousness. This book is an attempt to illuminate these contradictions. It gathers essays that focus from a variety of angles on Herzog and his work. The contributors move beyond the myths of Herzog to investigate the merits of his work and its place in film history. A challenging range of films is covered, from Fata Morgana and Aguirre, the Wrath of God to more recent features such as Nosferatu and Where the Green Ants Dream, offering the reader ways of understanding why, whatever the controversies surrounding Herzog and his films, he remains a major and popular international filmmaker. Orignally published in 1986.

part I|19 pages


chapter 1|17 pages

Producing Herzog: From a Body of Images

ByTimothy Corrigan

part II|22 pages

Promotion as Self-Portrait

chapter 2|20 pages

W. H. or the mysteries of walking in ice

ByJan-Christopher Horak

part III|114 pages


chapter 3|5 pages

On seeing a mirage

ByAmos Vogel

chapter 4|22 pages

Last words: observations on a new language

ByWilliam Van Wert

chapter 6|16 pages

The cosmos and its discontents

ByDana Benelli

chapter 7|14 pages

Literature and writing in the films of Werner Herzog

ByBrigitte Peucker

chapter 8|14 pages

Herzog, Murnau, and the vampire

ByJudith Mayne

chapter 9|24 pages

An anthropologist's eye: Where the Green Ants Dream

ByThomas Elsaesser

part IV|49 pages


chapter 10|24 pages

The politics of vision: Herzog's Heart of Glass

ByEric Rentschler

chapter 11|23 pages

Comprehending Appearances: Werner Herzog's Ironic Sublime

ByAlan Singer

part V|14 pages

Documenting Herzog: a Filmography and Selected Bibliography

part 12|12 pages