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Brownshirt Princess: A Study of the 'Nazi Conscience'

Brownshirt Princess: A Study of the 'Nazi Conscience' Lionel Gossman
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-906924-06-5 £15.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-906924-07-2 £29.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-906924-08-9 £0.00

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Brownshirt Princess is "an informed and highly readable depiction of a cultural landscape in which contrasting political and artistic currents often converged... this study is in many respects original and inspiring."
—Daria Santini, Modern Language Review

Princess Marie Adelheid of Lippe-Biesterfeld was a rebellious young writer who became a fervent Nazi. Heinrich Vogeler was a well-regarded artist who was to join the German Communist Party. Ludwig Roselius was a successful businessman who had made a fortune from his invention of decaffeinated coffee. What was it about the revolutionary climate following World War I that induced three such different personalities to collaborate in the production of a slim volume of poetry—entitled Gott in Mir—about the indwelling of the divine within the human?

Gossman's study situates the poem in the ideological context that made the collaboration possible: pantheism, Darwinism, disillusionment with traditional liberal values, theosophy and völkisch religions, and Lebensreform. The study outlines the subsequent life of the Princess who, until her death in 1993, continued to support and celebrate the ideals and heroes of National Socialism. Brownshirt Princess provides deep insight into the sources and character of the "Nazi Conscience", and is invaluable reading for anybody interested in understanding German society during the inter-war and Nazi periods.

The University Committee on Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Princeton University, has generously contributed towards the publication of this volume.

Brownshirt Princess: A Study of the 'Nazi Conscience'
Lionel Gossman | April 2009
202 | 21 black and white illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781906924065
ISBN Hardback: 9781906924072
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781906924089
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0003
BIC subject codes: HBJD (European history), BG (Biography), JPFQ (Fascism and Nazism); BISAC: HIS010010 (HISTORY / Europe / Eastern), HIS037070 (HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century), SOC024000 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Research); OCLC Number: 699563621.

You may also be interested in:

Introduction: An Unusual Book and a Strange Collaboration

Part I: Seeking a New Religion: Gott in Mir
1. The Title
2. The Epigraph and the Envoy
3. The Poem
4. Appendix to Part I: The Völkisch Rejection of Christianity

Part II: Serving New Gods
5. Marie Adelheid, Prinzessin Reuß-zur Lippe: Society, Ideology, and Politics
6. Nordische Frau und Nordischer Glaube
7. Die Overbroocks
8. After 1945: Unrepentant Neo-Nazi
9. Concluding Reflections


Lionel Gossman was M. Taylor Pyne Professor of Romance Languages (Emeritus) at Princeton University. Most of his work revolved around seventeenth and eighteenth-century French literature, nineteenth-century European cultural history, and the theory and practice of historiography. His publications include Men and Masks: A Study of Molière; Medievalism and the Ideologies of the Enlightenment; French Society and Culture: Background for 18th Century Literature; The Empire Unpossess’d: An Essay on Gibbon’s "Decline and Fall”; Between History and Literature; Basel in the Age of Burckhardt: A Study in Unseasonable Ideas; The Making of a Romantic Icon: The Religious Context of Friedrich Overbeck’s "Italia und Germania”; and several edited volumes: The Charles Sanders Peirce Symposium on Semiotics and the Arts; Building a Profession: Autobiographical Perspectives on the Beginnings of Comparative Literature in the United States (with Mihai Spariosu); Geneva-Zurich-Basel: History, Culture, and National Identity, and Begegnungen mit Jacob Burckhardt (with Andreas Cesana). He is also author of The Passion of Max von Oppenheim: Archaeology and Intrigue in the Middle East from Wilhelm II to Hitler,  and Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph, and the editor and translator of The End and the Beginning: The Book of My Life by Hermynia Zur Mühlen and On History by Jules Michelet, all published by OBP.
Lionel's obituary is available at https://www.princeton.edu/news/2021/01/15/lionel-gossman-specialist-french-literature-and-history-and-one-great-humanists-and.


Online Appendix A:
Gott in Mir

1. Scan of the original - from Firestone Library, Princeton University.
2. A translation into English of Gott in Mir

Online Appendix B: Image Portfolios

Image Portfolio 1. From Jugendstil to Agitprop. The itinerary of Heinrich Vogeler.
Image Portfolio 2. Identifying with God and the Cosmos. A selection of works by artists of the period 1880-1933 - paintings, drawings, book illustrations - expressing a religiosity similar to that of Gott in Mir.

Online Appendix C: Odd Man Out: Heinrich Vogeler and Fin-de-siècle Worpswede

Read the article here. For this and other articles on Heinrich Vogeler, go to the Heinrich Vogeler Gesellschaft's website.