THIS NEW MADNESS. Joseph Bercovici, "Bertrand Josephs."

THIS NEW MADNESS. New York: The Macaulay Company, [1935]. Octavo, pp. [1-8] 9-250 [251-256: blank], original beige cloth, front and spine panels stamped in red. First edition. "THIS NEW MADNESS traces the effects of Nazism upon three families with various ties with one another--the Frankenbahns, wealthy industrialists, the Kahlhabers, factory workers, and the Samenfelds, Jewish intellectuals. Olga Frankenbahn's desire to marry August Kahlbaher results in her brother Hugo, a Storm Trooper, nearly beating August to death and paralyzing Olga in the process. While August remains barely cogent and battered beyond recognition, Hugo has him sterilized, a process the Nazis inflict upon those they deem undesirable or a threat to their increasing regime. In spite of not being able to have children, Olga and August marry, but the severe mental and emotional trauma August has suffered leads him to become obsessed with the idea of Olga bearing a child by another man that they can consider their own. In a review published in THE COURIER-POST on February 9, 1935, Hyman Kaplan refers to THIS NEW MADESS as "one of the few modern novels that attempts to show the real effects of the Nazi movement on German character, mind, feeling, and family life, on private life as distinguished from the more frequently observed public life." Dachau and the concentration camps are mentioned throughout the novel (Dachau 'opened' on March 22, 1933, ostensibly as a prison for political prisoners and to function as a source of enforced labor. Executions at the camp began in April 1933) but Josephs' focus remains on families being torn apart by conflicting ideologies and depicting the increasing terror that once highly-regarded Jews face as they struggle to maintain a living and not lose hope. A routine melodrama, THIS NEW MADESS nevertheless deserves recognition as one of earliest novels to confront the dangers of Nazism as the party consolidates power prior to World War II. Published in 1935, THIS NEW MADNESS predates much more well-known works such as Murray Constantine's SWASTIKA NIGHT (1937), Alexander Boschwitz’s THE PASSENGER, and Katherine Kressmann Taylor's ADDRESS UNKNOWN (1938). While SWASTIKA NIGHT, THE PASSENGER, and ADDRESS UNKNOWN have enjoyed major resurgences in the past decade, THIS NEW MADNESS remains virtually unknown and forgotten. Jospeh Bercovici (1879-1967) was born in Romania and immigrated to the United States in 1904. Self-taught and fluent in English, French, German, Romanian, and Yiddish, Bercovici worked in a number of professions, most notably as a reporter and editor for trade magazines and newspapers such as WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY, and as a publicity director for various labor organizations. His younger brother, Konrad Bercovici, was a well-known journalist and fiction writer who moved in the same circles in Europe as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Joseph Bercovici's posthumous book, LETTERS TO HIS GRANDSON (Little Brown, 1976), consists of letters written to his grandson, Joel, from 1959 to 1966, when Joel was pursuing graduate studies in political science and beginning a career as university professor" (Boyd White). Cloth lightly foxed, a very good copy in a good four-color pictorial dust jacket with shallow chipping at spine ends and front corner tips, some minor creasing and clipped price. OCLC reports 4 copies. No copies reported by COPAC. Stunning jacket illustration. (#168372).

Price: $575.00

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