Academic journal article German Quarterly

The Legacy of Exile. Lives, Letters, Literature

Academic journal article German Quarterly

The Legacy of Exile. Lives, Letters, Literature

Article excerpt

Vietor-Englander, Deborah The Legacy of Exile. Lives, Letters, Literature. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998, 180 pp. $33.95 paperback.

Once in a while one can hear the question whether literary works created in exile caused by National Socialist persecution will be a subject for scholarly study much longer. In view of books such as The Legacy of Exile, this discussion becomes mute. The ten contributions, edited by Vietor-Englander, are as varied as the lives of their subjects. Whether autobiographical such as "The Americanization of Ginther" by Guy Stern-a text that should become a classic in its genre-or the result of painstaking research, each contribution to the volume enhances the fascinating field of exile studies.

The juxtaposition of two papers that discuss the exile of totally different subjects makes this fascination abundantly clear. Vietor-Englander's article entitled "The Mysteries of Rudolfo" is the work of a talented detective. It describes the "puller of strings" Rudolf Kommer, impresario and friend of many exile figures (from Max Reinhardt to Alfred Kerr), who was of enormous assistance to his proteges without ever divulging where his resources came from. J.M. Richie, on the other hand, presents a merciless but objective portrait of Kurt Hiller, a "Stankerer in Exile," who led a friendless, embittered, albeit active exile existence in England. Alexander Stephan examines the files of Erika and Klaus Mann and presents us with reports by German diplomats, the Gestapo, and other Nazi agents from all over the world. Charmian Brinson gives an impressive overview of "German Speaking Women in Exile in Great Britain," whether they lived as maids, activists in various organizations, or inmates in internment camps. …

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