Ibsen and Hitler: The Playwright, the Plagiarist, and the Plot for the Third Reich

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9780786719358: Ibsen and Hitler: The Playwright, the Plagiarist, and the Plot for the Third Reich
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The author reveals how a series of actions initiated by Hitler align with episodes in three Ibsen scripts, and that Hitler adopted characters as analogs to his own career path.

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About the Author:

Steven F. Sage, Ph.D., a former U.S. diplomat, was a research fellow in 2005 at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, during which time he completed Ibsen and Hitler. Among other honors he holds the position of Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts. He lives with his wife in Rockville, Maryland.

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Of the handful of recent books attempting to explain Hitler by examining his aesthetic proclivities (Frederic Spotts' comprehensive Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics, 2003, for example), most note Hitler's penchant for the theater. Sage argues that the youthful Hitler was so moved by certain dramatic works--particularly three plays by celebrated Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen--that these works not only scripted Hitler's self-image but also guided his political and military strategy. "It appears that what set the world aflame," Sage declares, "was a theatrical production by an unbridled lunatic." Dr. Stockmann, the lone voice against mob rule in An Enemy of the People, Sage argues, not only informed Hitler's antidemocratic views as expressed in Mein Kampf but also in some passages spoke the very same phrases. Emperor and Galilean, dramatizing Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, provided Hitler with a plot to ritually restage, and other works provide similar pentimenti. Clearly anticipating skepticism about his mimetic theory, Sage does an impressive amount of historical dot-connecting to sketch what Hitler saw or read and when; bullet-point summaries add a direct, let-the-record-show touch. As Sage himself concedes, however, this book's conclusions will resonate most with those already convinced of Hitler's personal agency in effecting the Holocaust. Brendan Driscoll
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9780786717132: Ibsen and Hitler: The Playwright, the Plagiarist, and the Plot for the Third Reich

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