This article investigates the role of names, naming, and anonymity in the career and reception history of Siegfried Kracauer. A signature motif of his life and writings, the notion of anonymity is ambivalent, signaling both invisibility and success. The article traces this motif from its treatment in Kracauer's novel Ginster to the role the author ascribes to it in his correspondence with Theodor W. Adorno, to the posthumous fate of his works on both sides of the Atlantic. A comparative reception history shows the different valences of Kracauer's name in German and Anglo-American scholarship, particularly in the history of film studies. The article situates the trope of anonymity at the heart of Kracauer's oeuvre, where it helps define a nonsovereign subject in response to modernity.

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