Fr. 44.50

February 1933 - The Winter of Literature

English · Hardback

Shipping usually within 3 to 5 weeks

Description

Read more

It all happened in a flash. February 1933 was the month in which the fate of German writers, as for so many others, was decided. In a tensely spun narrative, Uwe Wittstock tells the story of a demise which was predicted by some but also scarcely thought possible. He reveals how, in a matter of weeks, the glittering Weimar literary scene gave way to a long, dark winter, and how the net drew ever closer for Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Else Lasker-Schüler, Alfred Döblin, and countless others.Monday, January 30: Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Joseph Roth cannot wait any longer to learn what today's paper will report. He leaves for the station early in the morning and takes the train to Paris; bidding Berlin farewell comes naturally to him. Meanwhile, Thomas Mann barely spares a thought for politics during the next ten days, focusing instead on his forthcoming speech on Richard Wagner.Weaving an intimate portrait of the major figures whose lives he follows day by day, Wittstock shows how the landslide of events which immediately followed Hitler's victory spelled disaster for the country's literary elite. He resurrects the atmosphere of the times, marked by anxiety for many, by passivity and self-betrayal for some, and by grim determination for others. Who will applaud the new dictator, and who will flee, fearing for their life?Drawing on unpublished archival material, this important work is both a meticulous historical narrative and a timely reminder that we must remain vigilant in the face of the forces that threaten democracy, however distant the prospect of totalitarianism may seem.

List of contents

AcknowledgementsList of IllustrationsStepping off the Cliff * The month in which the die was castThe Republic's Last Dance * Saturday, 28 JanuaryHell Reigns * Monday, 30 JanuaryAxes at the Door * Tuesday, 31 JanuaryInferior Foreign-Blooded Trash * Thursday, 2 FebruaryTongue-Tied * Friday, 3 FebruaryNot Sure What to Do * Saturday, 4 FebruaryBurial in the Rain * Sunday, 5 FebruaryMeeting Routine * Monday, 6 FebruaryHideous, Violent Little Characters * Friday, 10 FebruarySchutzstaffel for Writers * Sunday, 12 FebruaryMen in Black * Monday, 13 FebruaryFever and Flight * Tuesday, 14 FebruarySlamming the Door * Wednesday, 15 FebruaryThe Little Schoolteacher * Thursday, 16 FebruaryI'm Leaving. I'm Staying * Friday, 17 FebruaryNo Treasure in the Silver Lake * Saturday, 18 FebruaryWhat's the Point of Writing? * Sunday, 19 FebruaryPay up! * Monday, 20 FebruaryPretty Good Cover * Tuesday, 21 FebruarySurviving the Coming Weeks * Wednesday, 22 FebruaryA Minister in the Audience * Friday, 24 FebruaryCivil War Tribunal and Police Protection * Saturday, 25 FebruaryTravel Advice * Monday, 27 FebruaryDictatorship Is Here * Tuesday, 28 FebruaryFading from the World * Wednesday, 1 MarchThe Fake Mother * Friday, 3 MarchDon't Open the Door! * Saturday, 4 MarchCasting a Ballot * Sunday, 5 MarchThe Emigrant's Solitude * Monday, 6 MarchCourage, Fear, and Fire * Tuesday, 7 MarchNothing but Goodbyes * Wednesday, 8 MarchUnexpected Attacks * Friday, 10 MarchFinal Days * Saturday, 11 MarchDepartures * Monday, 13 MarchThe Sight of This Hell * Wednesday, 15 MarchWhat Happened Afterward * 33 Life SketchesAfterwordBibliographyIndex

About the author

Uwe Wittstock is a journalist, critic and author who lives in Germany. He was awarded the prestigious Theodor Wolff prize for journalism in 1989.

Summary

It all happened in a flash. February 1933 was the month in which the fate of German writers, as for so many others, was decided. In a tensely spun narrative, Uwe Wittstock tells the story of a demise which was predicted by some but also scarcely thought possible. He reveals how, in a matter of weeks, the glittering Weimar literary scene gave way to a long, dark winter, and how the net drew ever closer for Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Else Lasker-Schüler, Alfred Döblin, and countless others.

Monday, January 30: Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Joseph Roth cannot wait any longer to learn what today's paper will report. He leaves for the station early in the morning and takes the train to Paris; bidding Berlin farewell comes naturally to him. Meanwhile, Thomas Mann barely spares a thought for politics during the next ten days, focusing instead on his forthcoming speech on Richard Wagner.

Weaving an intimate portrait of the major figures whose lives he follows day by day, Wittstock shows how the landslide of events which immediately followed Hitler's victory spelled disaster for the country's literary elite. He resurrects the atmosphere of the times, marked by anxiety for many, by passivity and self-betrayal for some, and by grim determination for others. Who will applaud the new dictator, and who will flee, fearing for their life?

Drawing on unpublished archival material, this important work is both a meticulous historical narrative and a timely reminder that we must remain vigilant in the face of the forces that threaten democracy, however distant the prospect of totalitarianism may seem.

Report

"February 1933 was the month in which the ice broke, the ice that seemed so thick and on which the institutions of German culture seemed so reliably built. Wittstock describes with breathtaking vividness and urgency the National Socialist terror which unfurled immediately after Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor, the helplessness of the state institutions, the plight of the threatened and persecuted, and, finally, the fate of expelled authors and artists day by day. When one has finished reading, the question remains: how thick is the ice on which we believe ourselves to be secure today?"Bernhard Schlink, author of The Reader"There are few months in history that can be said to be truly momentous - that shape an entire epoch. February 1933 was surely one of those months, and Uwe Wittstock's gripping account of that period is a masterful weaving together of historical sources, from weather reports, newspapers, and train timetables, to personal diaries and police records. His narrative leaves the reader gasping for breath as the events unroll so quickly. Although we already know the outcome, it has the pace and intensity of a thriller. Above all February 1933 is a stark reminder of the fragility of democracy and the rule of law, and how we must be ever vigilant if we are to defend it."Richard Ovenden, Bodleian Libraries"February 1933 tells the story of the impact of Hitler's rise to power on the lives of German writers over the first six weeks of the regime. Written like a novel in scintillating prose, this unique, groundbreaking book is both accessible to the general reader and deserves a place of honor on every cultural historian's bookshelf."David Livingstone Smith, author of Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization"Shines a forensic torch on the conflicted debates that Germany's writers had among themselves, and with themselves, about how best to respond to events ... Wittstock's approach is as meticulous as one would expect from a decorated journalist."Stuart Walton, Hong Kong Review of Books"An intimate history of a momentous month ... February, 1933 richly evokes what it was like to live through a time in which democracy was hijacked and fundamental rights stripped away."Camilla Cassidy, History Today"Wittstock's present-tense chronicle is packed with detail, from the crowd that formed a human pyramid so that someone could hand Hitler a rose at his window to the first book-book-burning in Dresden on March 8."Lesley Chamberlain, Times Literary Supplement"Wittstock's literary tour de force ... is a work of major intellectual and cultural impact."The Jewish Chronicle"Tense, vivid, and urgent ... a haunting picture of danger, despair, and the endurance of the human spirit."Jewish Book Council"A quick, compelling, and often powerful read."The Complete Review"Gripping ... pulses with surprise and suspense."Financial Times"Wittstock shows just how quickly the regime of terror emerged, snuffing out democracy--and with it, an entire literary era."Los Angeles Review of Books"A thrilling day-by-day account of the first month of Hitler's chancellorship ... remarkable."The New European"a narrative that reads like a fast-paced novel"Pankaj Mishra, New York Review of Books

Customer reviews

No reviews have been written for this item yet. Write the first review and be helpful to other users when they decide on a purchase.

Write a review

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Write your own review.

For messages to CeDe.ch please use the contact form.

The input fields marked * are obligatory

By submitting this form you agree to our data privacy statement.