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The story behind this novel by one of twentieth-century Britain's greatest poets and men of letters is nearly as remarkable as the book itself. Not long ago, a friend just returned from America told the author that he had read in the Spender manuscript collection of the University of Texas a novel called The Temple and dated 1929. Stephen Spender immediately obtained a cop The story behind this novel by one of twentieth-century Britain's greatest poets and men of letters is nearly as remarkable as the book itself. Not long ago, a friend just returned from America told the author that he had read in the Spender manuscript collection of the University of Texas a novel called The Temple and dated 1929. Stephen Spender immediately obtained a copy of his old draft manuscript – admired in the early thirties by his London publisher, but remaining unpublished because of the sensitivity of the contents and fear of libel actions – and read it with astonished pleasure. He then rewrote it in part, taking care not to diminish its ardent youthfulness, its innocence and cynicism, in the immediacy of its view of the last days of Weimar Germany, on the eve of Hitler's rise to power. It is, as one might expect, and autobiographical novel. Vividly present along with the protagonist, and not much disguised, are the two other members of the famous triumvirate Auden-Spender-Isherwood. Here are the experiences of a twenty-year-old Oxford poet on vacation in Hamburg, who then travels down the Rhine with two companions. We see his response to the bronzed young Germans – the children of the sun – their friendships, parties, sexuality, naturism (especially their cult of the naked body), and all the gauche hedonism that was soon to vanish under the Nazis. Clearly The Temple is a novel of historical and literary importance,. But it is, as well, an entertaining and moving story of a young man's awakening.


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The story behind this novel by one of twentieth-century Britain's greatest poets and men of letters is nearly as remarkable as the book itself. Not long ago, a friend just returned from America told the author that he had read in the Spender manuscript collection of the University of Texas a novel called The Temple and dated 1929. Stephen Spender immediately obtained a cop The story behind this novel by one of twentieth-century Britain's greatest poets and men of letters is nearly as remarkable as the book itself. Not long ago, a friend just returned from America told the author that he had read in the Spender manuscript collection of the University of Texas a novel called The Temple and dated 1929. Stephen Spender immediately obtained a copy of his old draft manuscript – admired in the early thirties by his London publisher, but remaining unpublished because of the sensitivity of the contents and fear of libel actions – and read it with astonished pleasure. He then rewrote it in part, taking care not to diminish its ardent youthfulness, its innocence and cynicism, in the immediacy of its view of the last days of Weimar Germany, on the eve of Hitler's rise to power. It is, as one might expect, and autobiographical novel. Vividly present along with the protagonist, and not much disguised, are the two other members of the famous triumvirate Auden-Spender-Isherwood. Here are the experiences of a twenty-year-old Oxford poet on vacation in Hamburg, who then travels down the Rhine with two companions. We see his response to the bronzed young Germans – the children of the sun – their friendships, parties, sexuality, naturism (especially their cult of the naked body), and all the gauche hedonism that was soon to vanish under the Nazis. Clearly The Temple is a novel of historical and literary importance,. But it is, as well, an entertaining and moving story of a young man's awakening.

30 review for The Temple

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    3.5 stars rounded up This is Stephen Spender’s only novel. A draft was written in 1929 and amended in the early 1930s, but not published until 1988. It was shown to a publisher in the 1930s but was deemed unpublishable because of its open portrayal of gay relationships. The novel is autobiographical, portraying a twenty year old Oxford poet on a holiday in Hamburg and on the Rhine. It is the height of the Weimar Republic and the lifestyle is hedonistic and carefree. There is a second part set thr 3.5 stars rounded up This is Stephen Spender’s only novel. A draft was written in 1929 and amended in the early 1930s, but not published until 1988. It was shown to a publisher in the 1930s but was deemed unpublishable because of its open portrayal of gay relationships. The novel is autobiographical, portraying a twenty year old Oxford poet on a holiday in Hamburg and on the Rhine. It is the height of the Weimar Republic and the lifestyle is hedonistic and carefree. There is a second part set three years later, again in Hamburg where the protagonist, Paul returns to Hamburg and the friends he made three years earlier. This time there is a cloud on the horizon in the form of Nazism which is affecting his friends in different ways. There is a clear sense of foreboding. Paul, the protagonist, is clearly Spender; the other two Englishmen in the novel William Bradshaw and Simon Wilmot are Isherwood and Auden respectively. The main German characters, Ernst, Joachim (the photographer Herbert List) and Willy are distinct and contrasting. They move in different directions over the three years. Willy has a Nazi girlfriend. Joachim’s boyfriend in the first part, Heinrich is still just on the scene in 1932. However his main friends are now Nazis and he breaks with Joachim, who gets beaten up and has his flat trashed. Ernst has become much more serious and business minded. The writers Auden, Isherwood, Spender and Upward are all linked together from this time and Spender is primarily known as a poet. His one foray into novel writing does not compare with Isherwood’s writing from this time; but the themes are similar; the struggle for sexual freedom and this stimulating political dissent. The lure of Weimar Germany was obvious; criminal sanctions against homosexuality had been lifted. Also the fact that the Soviet Union had also revoked laws against homosexuality made communism more attractive. Contrast with more conservative Britain and its censorship laws (1928-9 saw the trial relating to The Well of Loneliness). The Temple does not have the power and life of Isherwood, but it does consider the political implications of sexual dissent. The whole is also interesting when juxtaposed with Spender’s later ambivalence about his youth and his sexuality. It is an interesting contrast with Isherwood and Auden; not as powerful, but it captures a moment in time and there is a feeling of innocence which contrasts well with its loss at the end of the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Generally disappointing book. Somewhat experimental in character and incomplete. It is not another version of Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin and takes place mostly in conservative Hamburg. There is little sex in comparison, the most graphic being hetero: Spender was of conflicted, or uncertain, or of multiple sexuality, and it shows. The not-at-all-graphic gay sex comes across disapprovingly. Certainly there are plenty of "alabaster-skinned" blue-eyed Nordic boys described, but they are mostly st Generally disappointing book. Somewhat experimental in character and incomplete. It is not another version of Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin and takes place mostly in conservative Hamburg. There is little sex in comparison, the most graphic being hetero: Spender was of conflicted, or uncertain, or of multiple sexuality, and it shows. The not-at-all-graphic gay sex comes across disapprovingly. Certainly there are plenty of "alabaster-skinned" blue-eyed Nordic boys described, but they are mostly standing around looking pretty. Weimar Germany is insufficiently present. You will not see much of Isherwood or Auden: they appear on only a few pages and only as annoying caricatures. I would have preferred the original draft from 1929: Spender rewrote it in 1986 for the first publication, moving the date up to 1932 to bring in the Nazis. Thus we can't determine what were Spender's original impressions of Germany at the time, or what were added fifty-plus years later. His "journalistic" record from 1929 would be far more interesting and valuable—just as Isherwood's have become. None of this is to pan the book—the writing is at times quite fine—but it's incomplete and altered from the unavailable original, probably to conserve his own carefully protected reputation and to add the benefit of historical hindsight. Recommendation: Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin (also included in The Berlin Stories) definitely should be read before this book for a far better fictionalized treatment of wonderfully liberal Weimar Germany. For a nonfiction account, Isherwood again delivers it in Christopher and His Kind.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ewan Davis

    It took me some time to find this book for sale, in a good condition, but I’m glad I spent that time looking for it. In many ways, its not particular original, and is very much like the Berlin novels of Isherwood, quite heavily overlapping at times, and featuring a character based on Isherwood himself. I think I should be bored of these kinds of early 20th century upper middle class Oxford-via-Continental-Europe-centric voyages of self-discovery? But I finished the whole novel, so I think perhap It took me some time to find this book for sale, in a good condition, but I’m glad I spent that time looking for it. In many ways, its not particular original, and is very much like the Berlin novels of Isherwood, quite heavily overlapping at times, and featuring a character based on Isherwood himself. I think I should be bored of these kinds of early 20th century upper middle class Oxford-via-Continental-Europe-centric voyages of self-discovery? But I finished the whole novel, so I think perhaps I am not. This novel does stand apart from its similar counterparts because of its retrospective insight, being partially rewritten and completed in the 80s, and therefore having a knowingness about the looming war. I’m not entirely sure if this ruins it though, because it lacks the prophetic qualities of Orwell, Auden, Waugh etc., and comes across a little heavy handed. That is not to say Spender does not have the power to write in this way, but simply because of the rewriting and the date of publication we cannot know whether it was really there originally. The potentially clumsy attitude towards the war is however balanced and intertwined by some more sensitive introspective nods to suppressed youthful sexuality; a ‘Jew’ fetishizing his own persecution, covering a Nazi uniform in spit, photographing the Aryan teen and erecting his form as a temple of queer excellence, fucking a girl on the beach whilst the Brown Shirts shoot target practice in the woods behind you. Sex, importantly, comes before politics. And it is a complex sex being featured, which is always the best sex. Lust that continually tends to disgust, and a total lack of trust; a lack of trust in one’s own convictions; and erections. But also importantly, a disgust that moves us all along onto our next conquest, just as biology and the species needs us to. Interestingly one of the most striking images of the book is of a pregnant woman, stood on a balcony, silently surrounded by the embers of a bonfire, lit by a group of men (one of to whom she is married) all quietly falling in love-hate with each other. I’m not sure what the message is, but I think there is one. Another important aspect of the book, which again relates to both the politics and the sex, is the rejection of labels. Well, certain labels, and identity politics. Spender sees himself as a poet, and not much more; ethnicity, religion, sexuality, all seem to be shrugged off in favour of an identity formed around one’s action, creations, passions and aesthetic appreciations. Communists, Nazis, all are mocked. I think this is something characteristic of the Weimar Republic, and something we could all learn from today. Perhaps what makes me most happy about this book is reading it in the knowledge that, much like Auden, although in a more severe manner, Spender failed his Oxford degree. tl;dr: Posh Oxford pseudo-Commie eye-fucks his way around pre-War German.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    This is a surprisingly beautiful story of an Englishman, Paul, and his colleagues and comrades that he meets abroad mostly in Hamburg, Germany during 1927-1931 (Ernst, Joachim, & Willy along with the boys that occupy their romantic obsessions). A strange time between WWI and WWII, almost prophetic of friends and lovers that would be forced to become enemies just 10 years later. Wonderful poetry and literary references, as well, to bridge symbolism of the abstract with the reality of this time. T This is a surprisingly beautiful story of an Englishman, Paul, and his colleagues and comrades that he meets abroad mostly in Hamburg, Germany during 1927-1931 (Ernst, Joachim, & Willy along with the boys that occupy their romantic obsessions). A strange time between WWI and WWII, almost prophetic of friends and lovers that would be forced to become enemies just 10 years later. Wonderful poetry and literary references, as well, to bridge symbolism of the abstract with the reality of this time. The back-story of Stephen Spender's writing of this piece and his relationship with W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood are also worth researching.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kari Trenten

    Several young Englishmen travel to Weimar Germany, searching for love, the freedom to express their love, their fascination with a physical male idea, and their art. Related from the perspective of Paul, he describes his companions, the various Germans they meet, and the terrifying change creeping over Germany as various individuals struggle against poverty and the blows to their pride find refuge in the Nazi party, creating a mythological dogma of hatred and scapegoats to explain away problems Several young Englishmen travel to Weimar Germany, searching for love, the freedom to express their love, their fascination with a physical male idea, and their art. Related from the perspective of Paul, he describes his companions, the various Germans they meet, and the terrifying change creeping over Germany as various individuals struggle against poverty and the blows to their pride find refuge in the Nazi party, creating a mythological dogma of hatred and scapegoats to explain away problems and corruption that won’t go away. This story was terrifying because it was so real, there was so much I could identify with. The individual’s attempts to express themselves and their art, the way they collide and find common ground with those possessing no interest in art, living in a different culture which offers freedom, yet fresh obstacles, all the while that freedom is slowly being eroded by a communal block that is hateful, destructive, and almost comic in its falseness, yet other people cling to it with a ferocity as if it were a universal truth. I felt the bewilderment of the artists in the face of it all, their own need for a community to stand with and support them in the face of such hatred, which grows more malicious and organized with the rise of the Nazis. At the same time, these artists are fractitous, opinionated, and often at odds with each other, making their community one built on shaky ground. One can see a pattern in similar communities and events that parallel these too closely for comfort, so much that it feels like a warning cry from a past voice. It’s not all warnings, though. The voice carries bittersweet memories of the brighter moments of the Weimar republic when a young Englishman could find a love and freedom there forbidden in England. Only the love’s accessibility was often of a dubious nature, due to tendency to separate the physical from the emotional and intellectual, to throw themselves into the arms of physically impressive young Germans who had their own agendas and purposes for catching them. Poverty and battered pride were discovered at the core of these exchanges, which rose like snakes to attack the young men who found their emotions engaged in transactions involving rules they didn’t truly understand. All in all, this book offered a vivid, three-dimensional picture of Weimar Germany, those who reaped its rewards and suffered for them, and how it eventually crumbled. For doing this from a unique, individual perspective that breathed life into every individual he interacted with, I give this four stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hiser

    The Temple, which Spender based on experiences he had while on vacation in Germany in 1929, tells the story of the protagonist’s encounter with that country’s youth culture. It is also the story of repression, censorship, sexual freedom, and its related political dissent. In 1985, while conducting research in the rare books section of the Humanities Center at the University of Texas, the poet, John Fuller, discovered the manuscript of The Temple and soon told Spender of his find. (Spender had sol The Temple, which Spender based on experiences he had while on vacation in Germany in 1929, tells the story of the protagonist’s encounter with that country’s youth culture. It is also the story of repression, censorship, sexual freedom, and its related political dissent. In 1985, while conducting research in the rare books section of the Humanities Center at the University of Texas, the poet, John Fuller, discovered the manuscript of The Temple and soon told Spender of his find. (Spender had sold the manuscript to the university in 1962 when he was having financial problems and needed money). Spender contacted the library and received a Xerox copy of the manuscript he had begun writing when he was 19-years old. Before finally publishing the novel in 1988, Spender decided to make only minor changes to preserve the youthful vigor of the original. The biggest change was to move the date of his second visit to Germany from 1929 to 1932, thus allowing us to better feel the coming of the Nazis, even though Spender and his friends seem politically unaware of the evil soon to enter the world. The autobiographical novel opens with Paul Schoner (Spender), a young college student, finding himself falling in love with Marston, a fellow male student. Though the relationship goes nowhere and does not even become a friendship, Paul makes other friends in Simon Wilmot (W. H. Auden) and William Bradshaw (Christopher Isherwood). While commiserating with his friends, Simon asks Paul if he is a virgin. When Paul confesses he is, Wilmot tells him that “Germany’s the Only Place for Sex. England’s No Good.” Following the Soviet Union’s lead, the Weimar Republic was planning to remove criminal sanctions against gays and lesbians. England, however, like most other European countries, still criminalized homosexuality. Some days later, Paul meets a student from Germany, Ernst Stockmann. When Ernst invites Paul to come to Germany for a visit, he accepts. Envious, William tells Paul that “the moment I can get out of here, I intend to go to Berlin…I want to leave this country where censors ban James Joyce and the police raid the gallery where D. H. Lawrence’s pictures are on show.” In his introduction to the novel, Spender states that in the late 1920s, young artists in England were more concerned with censorship than with the changing political climate affecting Europe. Spender writes that “for many of my friends and for myself, Germany seemed a paradise where there was no censorship and young Germans enjoyed extraordinary freedom in their lives…Censorship, more than anything else, created in the minds of young English writers an image of their country as one to get away from: much as in the early 20s, Prohibition resulted in young Americans like Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald leaving America and going to France or Spain. For them, drink; for us, sex.” Spender also writes that the young British artists found themselves wanting to write about the very topics publishers would not touch. The Temple, which Spender could not sell because of references to homosexuality and threats of libel, is an autobiographical novel of experiences he had in Germany where he spent time on a vacation in 1929, and the drafts he sent to his friends were, “dispatches from a front line in our joint war against censorship.” In a conversation with Joachim Lenz, a friend Paul makes in Germany, he asks, “Is young people living their lives the new Germany? Is that the Weimer Republic?” Joachim, replies “For many members of this generation, yes. Perhaps, after all Germany has been through, we Germans are tired. After the War and years of starvation, perhaps we need to swim and to lie in the sun and make love in order to recharge our lives…We want our lives to replace those who became corpses.” When Paul asks how it will end, Joachim says he does not know. Perhaps some marvelous life affirming culture will spring to life or “perhaps something terrible, monstrous, the end.” Though the novel is set in the 1929 and draws on the struggle with censorship and the desire to live fully, in the background, the reader will faintly hear the rumblings of Hitler and the inevitable Second World War. So, is The Temple a “great novel? No. Spender is not the novelist his friend, Christopher Isherwood was, especially with his Berlin Stories. The plot lacks cohesion, the writing is sometimes stilted and uneven and feels as though written by a 19-year old writing his first novel (as is the case!). But, Spender’s ability to portray people and places, his growing ability to create beautiful sentences, his exploration of youth and first love, as well as the youthfulness of the writing, gives this novel energy and makes it enjoyable to read. Though he does not excel as a novelist, Sir Stephen Spender (knighted in 1983) was an important modern poet and critic of the early-mid 2th century. He is perhaps known best for his anti-fascist, social justice oriented poems from the 30s. His poems tend to be more personal as they express the speakers views about the external world. In the 40s, he gained a reputation for his critical essays. In 1965, the US Library of Congress appointed him Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, the seventh person to hold the position and the first person who was not a citizen of the US. Though Stephen Spender has largely faded from the eyes of the public, The Temple can still speak to us about cultural differences, youthfulness, love, enjoyment of the body, freedom, and the evil that can destroy it all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vincent

    Started this on a whim this past weekend, hoping to continue traveling throughout Europe in the 1920's (after re-reading "The Sun Also Rises" on Thanksgiving). Mostly an autobiographical, especially the first part, of Stephen Spender's (as Paul S.) visits to Germany, as he finds himself coming out of his reserved English skin. He meets interesting, artistic characters while at Oxford and in Hamburg. Also, Paul has his first homosexual and heterosexual experiences within hours of each other. The Started this on a whim this past weekend, hoping to continue traveling throughout Europe in the 1920's (after re-reading "The Sun Also Rises" on Thanksgiving). Mostly an autobiographical, especially the first part, of Stephen Spender's (as Paul S.) visits to Germany, as he finds himself coming out of his reserved English skin. He meets interesting, artistic characters while at Oxford and in Hamburg. Also, Paul has his first homosexual and heterosexual experiences within hours of each other. The second part was the intriguing portion of the narrative, when Paul revisits Hamburg and calls upon his friends three years later on the eve of the Nazi takeover of Germany.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Corné

    The Temple is amongst them: the novels that influenced my life (Maurice, Farewell Symphony, How Long Has This Been Going On), and yet this was the only Stephen Spender novel I ever read (or considered reading). It is remarkable how the German backdrop of The Temple (1929) much later seem to fit so well with my interest in Berlin, German, and Prussian history. Or did it actually stem from this novel? Who will know?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susana Filipe

    Nas minhas arrumações, volta não volta descubro alguns tesouros...e este livro está lá perto. Gostei, gostei mesmo muito. Uma história verídica, um caderno de notas da décadas de 20, esquecido pelo autor e reescrito 60 anos mais tarde. Um jovem que precisou viajar para uma Alemanha pré nazista para descobrir a liberdade de ser quem era!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    The thing that most sticks out in my mind from this book was the observation that we often fall in love with who we want a person to be instead of who they really are.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Charles Stephen

    Stephen Spender. The Temple. 1988. The famous triad of youthful friends, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, and Stephen Spender were all drawn to Weimar Germany because they felt they would have more freedom to express their homosexuality than in England. Their writing from this period documents not only their sexual liberation but the rise of the Nazis [Think of the movies I am a Camera and Cabaret, based on Isherwood’s books of this period]. The Temple was Spender’s unfinished attempt to also Stephen Spender. The Temple. 1988. The famous triad of youthful friends, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, and Stephen Spender were all drawn to Weimar Germany because they felt they would have more freedom to express their homosexuality than in England. Their writing from this period documents not only their sexual liberation but the rise of the Nazis [Think of the movies I am a Camera and Cabaret, based on Isherwood’s books of this period]. The Temple was Spender’s unfinished attempt to also depict in a novel what was happening in Germany between wars. Spender’s fame was his poetry, and when his forgotten manuscript for The Temple resurfaced in the late 20th century, he completed it. The finished product has a patched together, unpolished feel to it, but Spender’s look back to Weimar Germany will carry most readers through to the novel’s end. Spender’s protagonist, Paul, initially feels unlucky in love, because he always seems to drive away the youths who are the objects of his ardent attentions. It came as a shock for him that his German host, Ernst, treated him in the same fashion, suffocating him with attention and adulation. [I couldn’t help but wonder if this epiphany actually occurred in Spender’s youth or was a revision from decades later.] Paul was circumspect and generally avoided entanglements of a sexual nature with the beautiful young men in Germany who were so numerous and who ran with his circle of well-heeled German friends [Again, I wondered if the protagonist’s detachment from his sexual urges was a function of his youth and inexperience or another editorial revision of Spender’s from decades later]. Paul wanted to be friends with these German boys, and he hoped that physical intimacy would follow friendship. [If anyone can explain to me why Paul has coitus on the beach with the incidental character, Irmi, a German girl, I am all ears.] Paul was critical of England’s requirement that Germany pay reparations for World War I that led to its hyperinflation and widespread poverty of the 1920s. There was an abundance of unemployed, pfennigless young men who traded sexual favors for cash; some turned tricks to help out their families. Spender’s friend in Hamburg, Joachim, was from a family of coffee merchants, and he regularly cruised the harbor front for such young men. Although he often accompanied Joachim on these forays, Paul regarded Joachim as a sexual predator, especially in regard to his protégé, Heinrich. Both Spender and Isherwood depicted this generation of hapless young Germans as finding a sense of identity and dignity in either the Communist Party or the Nazi Party. Most of them were eventually forced to join Hitler’s army of the blitzkrieg. With war looming, Isherwood attempted, unsuccessfully, to get his boyfriend out of Germany and into England on a visa.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alessandro Lorini

    Questo libro ha un merito. Il raccontare un periodo storico (quello che è intercorso tra le due guerre) vissuto dalla gioventù di allora. Lo stile è un po' difficile ed è a volte talmente descrittivo di particolari inutili da confondere il lettore. Essendo uno stile di altri tempi forse ne risente Questo libro ha un merito. Il raccontare un periodo storico (quello che è intercorso tra le due guerre) vissuto dalla gioventù di allora. Lo stile è un po' difficile ed è a volte talmente descrittivo di particolari inutili da confondere il lettore. Essendo uno stile di altri tempi forse ne risente

  13. 5 out of 5

    Echo

    spender: "dedicated in 1930 to w.h. auden and christopher isherwood" me: 😭😭😭😭😭 spender: "dedicated in 1930 to w.h. auden and christopher isherwood" me: 😭😭😭😭😭

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wolfram-Jaymes von Keesing

    3.5 Stars. I can only judge this from a modern perspective, which is probably the dangers of reading older texts. I wish I could have read this in one go though. I'll update this later. 3.5 Stars. I can only judge this from a modern perspective, which is probably the dangers of reading older texts. I wish I could have read this in one go though. I'll update this later.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Camargo

    3,5; as notas do diário do Paul foram as melhores partes do livro. O retrato do momento histórico é interessante também.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Intortetor

    piombare nella repubblica di weimar giusto un attimo prima del disastro: le prime avvisaglie, i primi discorsi ambigui, i primi fastidi immotivati verso tutto ciò che esce dai canoni, fino ad arrivare alla violenza. paul è testimone del qui e ora dell'avvento del nazismo, vede amici e amanti prima descrivergli cosa sta accadendo, poi venirne toccati, fino alla violenza su joachim. certo, è anche un romanzo di passioni, e di sesso: ma raramente una trama mi è passata tanto in secondo piano rispet piombare nella repubblica di weimar giusto un attimo prima del disastro: le prime avvisaglie, i primi discorsi ambigui, i primi fastidi immotivati verso tutto ciò che esce dai canoni, fino ad arrivare alla violenza. paul è testimone del qui e ora dell'avvento del nazismo, vede amici e amanti prima descrivergli cosa sta accadendo, poi venirne toccati, fino alla violenza su joachim. certo, è anche un romanzo di passioni, e di sesso: ma raramente una trama mi è passata tanto in secondo piano rispetto al contesto, e forse spender voleva questo. peccato però che nel finale ci sia la sensazione che sia quasi incompleto: vorresti di più, vorresti sapere cosa è successo dopo, quel finale così (più la poesia scritta in un momento di svolta) non mi ha soddisfatto...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo

    Since first encountering Auden in grad school, I have been fascinated by his experiences in Germany & Berlin as well as that of his Oxford friends Christopher Isherwood & Stephen Spender who also wrote brilliant novels about their experiences there and in Hamburg. Watching the rise of the Nazis and the collapse of a vibrant and strange artistic & social world of that city.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cesar Alvarez

    This is a great book if you're interested in being transported to late Weimar Germany and seeing why it was an attractive destination for foreigners at the time. It's a nice complement to Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin. Fans of Isherwood and W.H. Auden will enjoy their appearances in the novel as William Bradshaw and Simon Wilmot. This is a great book if you're interested in being transported to late Weimar Germany and seeing why it was an attractive destination for foreigners at the time. It's a nice complement to Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin. Fans of Isherwood and W.H. Auden will enjoy their appearances in the novel as William Bradshaw and Simon Wilmot.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rob Walter

    This is an enjoyable book, although rather inconsistent. Some of the passages, especially those that are heavy on dialogue, are awkward and with a purpose that is far from clear. Others are bright and evocative. Although none of the characters is simple, nor are they alive or engaging, particularly in the first part of the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jo-Ann

    This book is worthwhile in its presentation of the pre Nazi era of cultural and artistic freedom that was Germany. The reader is provided with a clearer understanding of just how total was the destruction by the Nazis for the creative Germany. A great coming of age story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lysergius

    Interesting account of the author's visits to Germany between the wars. Not as vivid as Isherwood, Spender seems somehow more callow. Interesting account of the author's visits to Germany between the wars. Not as vivid as Isherwood, Spender seems somehow more callow.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Juan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Luis

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ljk

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kinga

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  28. 4 out of 5

    Irene

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tatum Flynn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alesioux Cort

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