Leo Yablans: Jewish Composers and the Third Reich, the Home Stretch!

Well, well, here we are at the final blog post. And what a summer it’s been. Of research, I mean. Last I posted here, I had just finished the research portion of my project, in which I read numerous books and articles about the history of anti-Semitism in the Third Reich and Jewish composers’ experiences in exile from Germany, the philosophical nature of exile, and various aesthetic theories. I had a thesis somewhat in mind, that the music these composers created served as a rebuttal against the Nazis for the terror and persecution they unleashed against the Jews, but I needed to be able to put it in concrete words.

GWF Hegel (Credit: Wikipedia)

I knew I had a lot of information and arguments to write down, but boy, I did not realize how much. Page limits? Hardly know ‘em. Please don’t bust me, Irene and Rae. Anyway, I decided to give myself a week to write each section, which worked pretty well. I first wanted to simply turn the information that I had into prose, with my core thesis tying my ideas together loosely. I got that done by last week, then began the editing process, during which I’m continuing to link everything together more solidly with my key argument. But what is that key argument? I settled on something like this: using Hegel, Adorno, and Said to analyze the collective styles of Jewish-exile composers, we can postulate that such a style served as a Hegelian Master-Slave-Dialectic-esque style polemic against the Third Reich, a blistering rebuttal against that terror and persecution. I’m really happy with this thesis, as it organically precipitated during my research, and it seems pretty novel.

Hanns Eisler (Credit: Getty Images)

So what’s next? Right now, I have a near-final section one completed at just over eight pages, and rough sections two and three completed, each at around ten pages. Again, sorry Irene and Rae. I’ll be editing them across the next two weeks, solidifying connections both between each paragraph and between sections, all linking back to my main thesis. In the last week of August, I’ll move everything onto one document, write a bibliography, and turn in the paper! It’s been a really great summer of research, and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve come up with, as well as grateful for the opportunity to do so. See you at the conference!