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Look Inside An Artist against the Third Reich

An Artist against the Third Reich
Ernst Barlach, 1933–1938

$29.99 (G)

  • Date Published: March 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521035705

$ 29.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • The conflict between National Socialism and Ernst Barlach, one of the important sculptors of the twentieth century, is an unusual episode in the history of Hitler's efforts to rid Germany of 'international modernism.' Barlach did not passively accept the destruction of his sculptures, but protested the injustice, and continued his work. Peter Paret's discussion of Barlach's art and struggle over creative freedom, is joined to an analysis of Barlach's opponents. Hitler's rejection of modernism, often dismissed as absurd ranting, is instead interpreted as a internally consistent and politically effective critique of liberal Western culture. That some radical national socialists nevertheless advocated a 'nordic modernism' and tried to win Barlach over, indicates the cultural cross-currents running through the early years of the Third Reich. Paret's closely focused study of an artist in a time of crisis seamlessly combines the history of modern Germany and the history of modern art. Peter Paret is Mellon Professor in the Humanities Emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Spruance Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, which awarded him the Thomas Jefferson Medal and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The German government has awarded him the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit. His other works include, German Encounters with Modernism, 1840-1945 (Cambridge, 2001), Imagined Battles: Reflections of War in European Art (Univ, of NC, 1997), The Berlin Secession: Modernism and its Enemies in Imperial Germany (Harvard, 1989), and Clausewitz and the State (Oxford, 1985).

    • The account of a conflict between the Third Reich and an important artist is a case study of the national socialist regime in general
    • The book analyses Hitler's ideas on art as a carefully considered part of his political and racial ideology
    • Combines close analysis of Barlach's art with a study of national-socialist tactics of intimidation and repression
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    Reviews & endorsements

    " important intellectual biography of a nonpolitical artist who was forced to become a dissident, but also a lens by which to view the evolution of Hitler's war against abstract art." The Weekly Standard

    "[Paret] succinctly assesses the artist's threat to the Nazi agenda - in particular, by setting Barlach's spare, mournful monuments to World War I against popular tributes to the invincible Reich. Wholly compelling yet never celebratory, Paret's account grants for Barlach his long-due regard in English." Publishers Weekly

    "[T]he historian Peter Paret's Artist Against the Third Reich sheds much light on the tortured evolution of Nazi policy." New York Times

    "As a book about process, as a case study in totalitarianism and a vignette of the crucial relationship between nationalism and war, it has a resonance--and a relevance--far greater than its own modest length." New York Sun

    "Paret's effort to weave together the story of a single artistic career while interpreting the history of the Third Reich offers an eminently readable narrative and a potential model to scholars working on related material." CAA Reviews

    "Concise, authoritative, with a style accessible to undergraduates, the book would be a good choice to assign in courses on the Third Reich." H-GERMAN Digest

    "[A]n excellent contribution to our understanding of the nature of personal and artistic crosscurrent in the German totalitarian environment.... Highly recommended." Choice

    "...(H)e has produced a volume that is a model of how the specific and particular can illuminate the general. It is a book to read more than once."
    Neil Gregor, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521035705
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 222 x 150 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.364kg
    • contains: 38 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Hitler
    2. Barlach
    3. Nordic modernism
    4. The hounding of Barlach
    5. German and un-German art
    6. After the fact
    A note on the literature
    Documents and works cited

  • Author

    Peter Paret, Princeton University, New Jersey

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