Sunday, December 07, 2014

What is Jonathan Petropoulos reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jonathan Petropoulos, author of Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany.

His entry begins:
I just finished one book, Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam, and am half way through Anne Sinclair’s My Grandfather’s Gallery. The former is by my favorite writer, whom I admire for his nuanced prose, his character development, and perhaps most of all, for his ability to master specific professions. In Amsterdam, he puts himself inside the heads of a musician (a composer) and a journalist. McEwan has brilliant things to say about the creative process—how artists push themselves and sacrifice in order to achieve something great—and his journalist character also takes up the issue of balancing professional accomplishment with the pressures of the “real world.” McEwan is also always good for an astonishing ending. In this case...[read on]
About Artists Under Hitler, from the publisher:
“What are we to make of those cultural figures, many with significant international reputations, who tried to find accommodation with the Nazi regime?” Jonathan Petropoulos asks in this exploration of some of the most acute moral questions of the Third Reich. In his nuanced analysis of prominent German artists, architects, composers, film directors, painters, and writers who rejected exile, choosing instead to stay during Germany’s darkest period, Petropoulos shows how individuals variously dealt with the regime’s public opposition to modern art. His findings explode the myth that all modern artists were anti-Nazi and all Nazis anti-modernist.

Artists Under Hitler closely examines cases of artists who failed in their attempts to find accommodation with the Nazi regime (Walter Gropius, Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde) as well as others whose desire for official acceptance was realized (Richard Strauss, Gustaf Gründgens, Leni Riefenstahl, Arno Breker, Albert Speer). Collectively these ten figures illuminate the complex cultural history of Nazi Germany, while individually they provide haunting portraits of people facing excruciating choices and grave moral questions.
Learn more about Artists Under Hitler at the Yale University Press website.

Writers Read: Jonathan Petropoulos.

--Marshal Zeringue