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And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-occupied Paris
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2010
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On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. The only consolation was that, while the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged. Soon, a peculiar kind of normality returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters and nightclubs reopened for business. This suited both conquerors and vanquished: the Germans wanted Parisians to be distracted, while the French could show that, culturally at least, they had not been defeated. Over the next four years, the artistic life of Paris flourished with as much verve as in peacetime. Only a handful of writers and intellectuals asked if this was an appropriate response to the horrors of a world war.
Alan Riding introduces us to a panoply of writers, painters, composers, actors and dancers who kept working throughout the occupation. Maurice Chevalier and Édith Piaf sang before French and German audiences. Pablo Picasso, whose art was officially banned, continued to paint in his Left Bank apartment. More than two hundred new French films were made, including Marcel Carné’s classic, Les Enfants du paradis. Thousands of books were published by authors as different as the virulent anti-Semite Céline and the anti-Nazis Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Meanwhile, as Jewish performers and creators were being forced to flee or, as was Irène Némirovsky, deported to death camps, a small number of artists and intellectuals joined the resistance.
Throughout this penetrating and unsettling account, Riding keeps alive the quandaries facing many of these artists. Were they “saving” French culture by working? Were they betraying France if they performed before German soldiers or made movies with Nazi approval? Was it the intellectual’s duty to take up arms against the occupier? Then, after Paris was liberated, what was deserving punishment for artists who had committed “intelligence with the enemy”?
By throwing light on this critical moment of twentieth-century European cultural history, And the Show Went On focuses anew on whether artists and writers have a special duty to show moral leadership in moments of national trauma.
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Street Date:
10/19/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307594549
ASIN:
B003F3PKYU
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APA Citation (style guide)

Alan Riding. (2010). And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-occupied Paris. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Alan Riding. 2010. And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-occupied Paris. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Alan Riding, And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-occupied Paris. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

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Alan Riding. And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-occupied Paris. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • role: Author
      • fileAs: Riding, Alan
      • bioText: For twelve years, Alan Riding was the European cultural correspondent for The New York Times. He was previously bureau chief for the Times in Paris, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City. Riding is the author of Distant Neighbors. He continues to live in Paris with his wife, Marlise Simons, a writer for the Times.
      • name: Alan Riding
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title
And the Show Went On
fullDescription
On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. The only consolation was that, while the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged. Soon, a peculiar kind of normality returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters and nightclubs reopened for business. This suited both conquerors and vanquished: the Germans wanted Parisians to be distracted, while the French could show that, culturally at least, they had not been defeated. Over the next four years, the artistic life of Paris flourished with as much verve as in peacetime. Only a handful of writers and intellectuals asked if this was an appropriate response to the horrors of a world war.
Alan Riding introduces us to a panoply of writers, painters, composers, actors and dancers who kept working throughout the occupation. Maurice Chevalier and Édith Piaf sang before French and German audiences. Pablo Picasso, whose art was officially banned, continued to paint in his Left Bank apartment. More than two hundred new French films were made, including Marcel Carné’s classic, Les Enfants du paradis. Thousands of books were published by authors as different as the virulent anti-Semite Céline and the anti-Nazis Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Meanwhile, as Jewish performers and creators were being forced to flee or, as was Irène Némirovsky, deported to death camps, a small number of artists and intellectuals joined the resistance.
Throughout this penetrating and unsettling account, Riding keeps alive the quandaries facing many of these artists. Were they “saving” French culture by working? Were they betraying France if they performed before German soldiers or made movies with Nazi approval? Was it the intellectual’s duty to take up arms against the occupier? Then, after Paris was liberated, what was deserving punishment for artists who had committed “intelligence with the enemy”?
By throwing light on this critical moment of twentieth-century European cultural history, And the Show Went On focuses anew on whether artists and writers have a special duty to show moral leadership in moments of national trauma.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The New York Times Book Review
      • content:

        "Gripping . . . We'll always have Paris, but we may not feel quite the same about it after reading And the Show Went On."

      • premium: False
      • source: Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times
      • content: "An arresting and detailed account . . . A big story and insidiously troubling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Modris Eksteins, The Wall Street Journal
      • content: "A carefully constructed and sympathetic account . . . Riding is very good at pointing to the complexities and ambiguities of the situation . . . An evocative book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Tom Mackin, Newark Star-Ledger
      • content: "Monumentally researched, vividly written and troubling account of how the cultured citizens of Paris behaved while the Nazi swastika fluttered above the Eiffel Tower."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Economist
      • content: "Meticulously researched . . . Riding's book is an impressively comprehensive survey of the occupation years."
      • premium: False
      • source: David Fromkin, author of A Peace to End All Peace
      • content: "Only someone as deeply versed in French culture as is Alan Riding, and as completely in command of his subject, could have written this magisterial account of France's authors and artists and filmmakers and musicians during the Occupation. It is star-studded and makes fascinating reading."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus
      • content: "[A] startling cultural history . . . A stark account of how we act when evil enters our door."
      • premium: False
      • source: Fritz Stern, author of Gold and Iron
      • content: "A splendidly informed study of Parisian cultural elite during the dark years. Riding places brilliant portraits of leading individuals in the context of clearly depicted French politics, alive to the moral drama of people facing extreme choices across fluid ideological lines. A study of ambiguities, including the varying conduct of German occupiers, of accommodation, betrayal, and human and patriotic decency. A book of transcendent relevance."
      • premium: False
      • source: Susan Suleiman, C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
      • content: "In this highly readable book, Alan Riding presents a thorough, balanced account of the ways French artists and writers responded to Nazi occupation, ranging from active resistance to enthusiastic collaboration. Based on numerous interviews as well as published memoirs and diaries and the latest historical scholarship, this lively book will be of interest to specialists as well as to readers who wish to know more about that troubled period of French history. Riding marshals details with the verve and care of a great reporter."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "Engrossing . . . rich in detail."
      • premium: False
      • source: Ward Just, author o
      • content: "A superb account of intellectuals under pressure, how thought was married to action or, more frequently, inaction. A few heroes, a few villains, and many in between. It's the in-betweens who seize our attention, those occupying a no-man's land where resistance and collaboration dance a most delicate minuet. Alan Riding, deeply versed in French politics and culture, is the ideal guide to Parisian life under the Nazis. He has written a wonderful book."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 9, 2010
        Riding, a former European cultural correspondent for the New York Times, recounts Parisian life under the Nazi swastika and the forced compromises of French writers, artists, and performers under Hitler's rule. Riding's clear-eyed account lifts the veil on the moral and artistic choices for those who stayed and were forced to decide whether to resist, collaborate, or compromise somewhere in between. Publisher Gaston Gallimard let a German-selected editor run his prestigious Nouvelle Revue Française; in turn, he was able to publish books by authors unsympathetic to the Nazis. While the American government lobbied for emergency visas for gifted refugees who didn't flee to Switzerland or North Africa, some artists and performers hid or performed in cabarets or clubs with non-Aryan restrictions. Maurice Chevalier traveled to Germany to perform for French POWs and was seen by some as a collaborator worthy of death. Among the best examinations of occupied life under the Third Reich, Riding's (Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans) eloquent book speaks of the swift executions of traitors and the women disgraced by having their heads shaved, but admits that the French embraced the myth of national resistance and pushed the Occupation out of their minds. 16 pages of photos.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2010

        Former New York Times European cultural correspondent Riding (Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans, 1984) explores a troubling issue in modern history: the behavior of French artists, performers and writers during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

        The author begins in June 1940, when "the German army drove into Paris unopposed," then provides a quick explanation of how Paris became a magnet for artists and intellectuals in the aftermath of World War I—and how the unstable French governments softened the soil for fascism. Returning to the Nazis, Riding describes how the French scrambled to hide, sometimes successfully, their art treasures from the invaders. He notes how Joseph Goebbels and others believed that keeping Parisian culture alive would help pacify the French—and he proved prescient. Throughout the occupation, plays, operas and concerts continued; poets and novelists and journalists wrote; painters painted; dancers danced; filmmakers filmed—all with a deadly difference, however. Jews were erased, anti-fascists were arrested, and sometimes executed, and publications and productions had to submit to Nazi censorship. As Riding demonstrates in this startling cultural history, many writers and artists sold their services to the fascists for reasons ranging from simple survival to solidarity with the Germans (after the war, the French dealt harshly with most of the latter). He examines a plethora of individual cases, including Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Josephine Baker, Chevalier, Piaf, Cocteau, Sartre, Genet, Camus, Saint-Exupéry and the collaborating Céline. The author also retells the heroic story of American Varian Fry, who struggled to save French artists; examines underground publications; and reveals that the resistance was never as pervasive as postwar mythology maintained.

        A stark account of how we act when evil enters our door.

         

        (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2010
        Riding (former European cultural correspondent, "New York Times") frames his narrative within a larger philosophical context: the role of the artist in troubled times. Interested in the question of how artists react to repression, he focuses on German-occupied Paris during World War II. With exhaustive research, including personal interviews with many who experienced these years and stories from heralded figures like Edith Piaf, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Andr Malraux, and Antoine de Saint-Exupry, he examines the cultural life of Paris before, during, and after the occupation. Riding also explains the competing goals of the Vichy government, which sought to show that the French were not defeated culturally, and the German occupiers, who aimed to break French domination of international cultural life while shaping French culture to Nazi dictates. Thus, for different reasons, French culture survived. The occupiers wanted to be entertained and Parisians wanted to be distracted. In pondering the legacy of the period, Riding concludes that those who escaped and those who died left room for new talent to replace them, albeit in a postwar world in which cultural predominance shifted away from Paris. VERDICT This engrossing work, rich in detail, should appeal to French historians and serious readers interested in 20th-century cultural history.Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ

        Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        September 1, 2010
        On June 14, 1940, the Nazis marched effortlessly into Paris, forever changing the rich cultural life of the City of Lights. Within weeks, the Germans began shipping their neighbors coveted cultural treasures back to the Fatherland (except for the so-called degenerate art, of course). Artists, especially Jews and leftists, faced difficult choices, and many careers (and lives) were cut short. But, as Riding (Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans, 1989) shows, Paris would still continue to be Paris. Nightclubs and brothels catered to German soldiers; theater, ballet, film, and music all continued, albeit under the surveillance of the German authorities, who were agents of cultural imperialism as well as censors. Examining the wartime trajectories of a great many cultural figures, Ridings nuanced and substantial study avoids easy conclusions about collaborators and resisters alike. Rather, it emphasizes the various pressures experienced by artists, not least of which may have been maintaining Paris cultural dominance of Europe without the oxygen of freedom necessary for creative inspiration.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2010

        Former New York Times European cultural correspondent Riding (Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans, 1984) explores a troubling issue in modern history: the behavior of French artists, performers and writers during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

        The author begins in June 1940, when "the German army drove into Paris unopposed," then provides a quick explanation of how Paris became a magnet for artists and intellectuals in the aftermath of World War I--and how the unstable French governments softened the soil for fascism. Returning to the Nazis, Riding describes how the French scrambled to hide, sometimes successfully, their art treasures from the invaders. He notes how Joseph Goebbels and others believed that keeping Parisian culture alive would help pacify the French--and he proved prescient. Throughout the occupation, plays, operas and concerts continued; poets and novelists and journalists wrote; painters painted; dancers danced; filmmakers filmed--all with a deadly difference, however. Jews were erased, anti-fascists were arrested, and sometimes executed, and publications and productions had to submit to Nazi censorship. As Riding demonstrates in this startling cultural history, many writers and artists sold their services to the fascists for reasons ranging from simple survival to solidarity with the Germans (after the war, the French dealt harshly with most of the latter). He examines a plethora of individual cases, including Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Josephine Baker, Chevalier, Piaf, Cocteau, Sartre, Genet, Camus, Saint-Exup�ry and the collaborating C�line. The author also retells the heroic story of American Varian Fry, who struggled to save French artists; examines underground publications; and reveals that the resistance was never as pervasive as postwar mythology maintained.

        A stark account of how we act when evil enters our door.

        (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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Alan Riding introduces us to a panoply of writers, painters, composers, actors and dancers who kept working throughout the occupation. Maurice Chevalier and Édith Piaf sang before French and German audiences. Pablo...
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