Thursday, April 7, 2011

1946 German Language Moby-Dick

This edition of Moby-Dick was printed in Hamburg, Germany by Claassen and Goverts Verlag, just 18 months of the end of WWII. The notation is "printed in Germany", which is significant in the Hamburg was in the British Zone of Occupation and did not become a state of the Federal Republic of Germany until 1949.

This is not a very robust edition, the cover had become separated and is held together with scotch tape and the pages are very yellowed indictative of low grade paper.

The only art is this cover, a most interesting image of Moby Dick. The tail is too short and the eye too big, the head is miss shaped yet it conveys the whaleness of the story.

Why would the publisher choose Moby-Dick to print at the end of a horrific war? The English fire bombed Hamburg in 1943 killing 42,000 civilians and the Nazi's killed 55,000 people in the Neuengamme concentration camp within the city of Hamburg. This surely was a murderous obsession by Hitler. Hitler as Ahab? Confined to his cabin on a fools quest to dominate the world? In the end everyone perishes.

This post was inspired by dolphinguy's comments...

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