Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exile Lit

Over at More Intelligent Life, I review an exhibit that focuses on German writers and publishers in exile during the 1940s:
Despite this lofty output, German readers in America were thin on the ground, ensuring slim profits. Yet these publishers had more complicated motivations. Especially during the war years, German editions were “much more a demonstration of cultural (and political) self-assertiveness than a business,” writes Wulf Koepke, a German literature professor, in an essay republished in the exhibition’s handsome, slim catalogue. Most writers had to decide whether to “renounce the present and write for a future German-speaking public” or to “try to write in English and become authentic immigrants.”


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