Strange Bird: The Albatross Press and the Third Reich by Michele K. Troy

By Michele K. Troy

The first e-book concerning the Albatross Press, a Penguin precursor that entered into an uneasy courting with the Nazi regime to maintain Anglo-American literature alive below fascism

The Albatross Press used to be, from its beginnings in 1932, a “strange bird”: a cultural outsider to the 3rd Reich yet an monetary insider. It used to be funded through British-Jewish pursuits. Its director used to be rumored to paintings for British intelligence. A precursor to Penguin, it disbursed either middlebrow fiction and works by means of edgier modernist authors corresponding to D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway to keen continental readers. but Albatross revealed and bought its paperbacks in English from the center of Hitler’s Reich.

In her unique and elegantly researched historical past, Michele ok. Troy finds how the Nazi regime tolerated Albatross—for either financial and propaganda gains—and how Albatross exploited its insider place to maintain Anglo-American books alive less than fascism. In so doing, Troy exposes the contradictions in Nazi censorship whereas providing an interesting detective tale, a background, a nuanced research of guys and causes, and a cautionary tale.

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4 For readers familiar with Tauchnitz’s eminence, Otto’s worry might, then, have seemed unwarranted. The firm’s headquarters in Leipzig, stretching a full block, were as impressive as its international reputation. The neoclassical stone mansion housing its head office conveyed an aura of staid grandeur, as if to advertise that rivals stood little chance. Tauchnitz had history on its side: not only had the German firm invented the market for continental English editions; it had ostensibly fought off forty-two competitors in the decades since.

Albatross books were affordable as well as accessible. 80 Reichsmarks—readers could acquire the most recent English and American literature. The Albatross Crime Club and Albatross Giants series kept European readers supplied with English and American tales of mystery and biography. Albatross formed a subsidiary, Odyssey Press, solely to reprint Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover—hot sellers for sure, in part because they were banned in England and the United States. The Albatross Modern Continental Library included an array of so-called middlebrow fiction, as well as cutting-edge modernist texts that provoked curiosity abroad, among them, Lawrence’s The Rainbow, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Forster’s A Passage to India, and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

ONE Tauchnitz Has a Rival BY THE TIME Nazi officials started scrutinizing Albatross and its books, books in English had been part of the German economy for nearly a century. It was, remarkably, not an enterprising British or American publisher but a German firm—Bernhard Tauchnitz—that had seized on the idea of selling inexpensive paperbacks in English throughout continental Europe. As the 1930s began, readers across Europe knew and revered the Tauchnitz name. Tauchnitz had invented its specialized market for English books in 1841, and had dominated it ever since: the tell-tale ivory books of the Tauchnitz edition, with their stark black block-print lettering, had become synonymous with English literature on the continent.

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