A labourer, journalist and a professor who lived through four successive periods of German political history – from the German Empire, through the Weimar Republic and the Nazi state through to the German Democratic Republic – Victor Klemperer is regarded as one of the most vivid witnesses to a tumultuous century of European history.
First published in 1957, The Language of the Third Reich arose from Klemperer's conviction that the language of the Third Reich helped to create its culture. As Klemperer writes: 'It isn't only Nazi actions that have to vanish, but also the Nazi cast of mind, the typical Nazi way of thinking, and its breeding ground: the language of Nazism.'
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 316
Weight: 402 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
It is obscene, in a sense, to relate Klemperer's situation to any subsequent intellectual enquiry conducted unmolested by tyranny. But studies of language - whether social, political or aesthetic - owe him a debt. They implicitly gesture towards his act of witness, and towards others like it.
This book is an honest narrative of hope and oppression, touching in places and well written, in an accessible translation.
This book is a breathtaking balancing act, by turns horrifying and heroic, saddening and sardonic [...] of major historical importance and grippingly well-written
This important, stimulating and necessary book should be required reading for all who want to understand what politicians are doing to us today ... it is full of anecdotes and details that illustrate the effect of the changes in language ... This is a vital book.
On the basis of his painstaking ethical-linguistic examinations, Klemperer is one of the most valuable witnesses to the methods of totalitarian mental corruption. The lasting message of this book is one of constant vigilance: wherever the machinery of atrocity is in motion, the misuse of language will be supporting it.
Equal parts linguistic analysis and survivor’s memoir, Victor Klemperer’s The Language of The Third Reich (LTI) is noteworthy for its insight, intelligence, clarity, and even caustic humor … LTI is also a book that, given its author’s travails, is remarkably absent of bitterness. Though a victim, Klemperer does not write as a victim but rather as a once-captive though now-distant (even with the space of one year) observer to a language simultaneously terrifying and spellbinding. A Dresden Jew who had lived through the dark night of the Third Reich, Klemperer writes about his oppression with cool subjectivity. Yet in his cool subjectivity, Klemperer does not leave Nazism unscathed.