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H. G. Adler

A Life in Many Worlds

Peter Filkins

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Oxford University Press
05 March 2019
Biography; Biography: literary; European history; History: specific events & topics; The Holocaust; Second World War
The biography of H.G. Adler (1910-88) is the story of a survivor of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and two other concentration camps who not only lived through the greatest cataclysm of the 20th century, but also devoted his literary and scholarly career to telling the story of those who perished in over two dozen books of fiction, poetry, history, sociology, and religion. And yet for much of his life he remained almost entirely unknown.

A writer's writer, a scholar of seminal, pioneering works on the Holocaust, a renowned radio essayist in postwar Germany, a last representative of the Prague Circle of literature headed by Kafka, a key contributor to the prosecution in the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Adler was a man of his time whose times lived through him. His is the story of many others, but also one that is singularly his own. And at its heart lies a profound story of love and perseverance amid the loss of his first wife, Gertrud Klepetar, who accompanied her mother to the gas chamber in Auschwitz, and the courtship and extended correspondence with Bettina Gross, a Prague artist who escaped to the Britain, only to later learn that her mother had also been in Theresienstadt with Adler before her eventual death in Auschwitz.

He delivered a lecture in Theresienstadt commemorating Kafka's sixtieth birthday, and with Kafka's favorite sister present; he nurtured a younger generation of artists and intellectuals, including the Israeli artist Jehuda Bacon and the Serbian novelist Ivan Ivanji; he helped to preserve Viktor Ullmann's compositions and his opera The Emperor of Atlantis, only to see them premiered decades later to world acclaim; and he experienced postwar life while churning out the novels, poetry, and scholarship that would make his reputation - all of these are part of a life survived in the moment, but dedicated to the future, and that of a man committed to helping human dignity survive in his time and that to come.
By:   Peter Filkins
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 243mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 29mm
Weight:   748g
ISBN:   9780190222383
ISBN 10:   0190222387
Pages:   416
Publication Date:   05 March 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Acknowledgements 1 - The Lecture 2 - The Exile 3 - The Wanderers 4 - The Cataclysm 5 - The Flight 6 - The Railroad 7 - The Ghetto 8 - The Human Day 9 - One Thousand Paces 10 - The Letter Writers 11 - The Escape 12 - The Survivor 13 - The Writer 14 - The Witness 15 - The Trial 16 - The Artist 17 - The Poet 18 - The Man Index

Peter Filkins is an award-winning translator and poet. He has translated three novels by H.G. Adler, Panorama, The Journey, and The Wall, as well as the collected poems of Ingeborg Bachmann. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leon Levy Center for Biography, the DAAD, and the American Academy in Berlin, he is the Richard B. Fisher Professor of Literature at Bard College at Simon's Rock.

Reviews for H. G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds

Authoritative, deeply empathetic...a well-deserved celebration of a courageous and determined public intellectual. -- Kirkus Reviews


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