Item No: #296192 The Blue Danube. Ludwig Bemelmans.
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube
The Blue Danube

Bemelmans Satire of Nazi Germany, Signed

The Blue Danube

Notes: The Blue Danube can best be described as a gentle satire of Nazi Germany, belonging somewhere on the continuum of works about the Second World War with Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-5 and Mel Brooks' The Producers. He treats the horrors in a completely deadpan fashion. Residents are sent to Dachau in purely administrative fashion with "the usual notifications." A deposed party official's suicide is interrupted by his replacement seeking to buy his pre-war uniform made of good cloth and his gun; a boatful of school children who drown as the result of a Nazi party scheme don't get a second thought from the organizers, one of whom Bemelmans calls "the animal with a voice."

The novel is set behind the front lines in Regensburg, where Bemelmans grew up (he was born in a French-speaking part of Austria that is now in Italy; English was his third language after French and German). "For most of those at home—the women, the old men, for the unbelievers—hope had run away like a thief in the night. They sat alone in their cold rooms, tight-lipped lest that doubt and fear that ran furiously through their brains, like a thousand squirrels in cages, should spill into the street."

153 pages. Illustrated with 14 full-page color plates of Bemelmans' watercolors. Bemelmans is best-known for the Madeline series of picture books.

Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing, with no indication of later printings). A very good copy (cloth spotted) in a very good dust jacket with shallow chipping at the top of the spine. This copy is inscribed, "To Alice with love from Ludwig, March 1945." Uncommon signed.

Publication: New York: Viking Press, 1945.

Item No: #296192

Price: $500