Michele K. Troy, professor of English in Hillyer College, will speak about her book Strange Bird: The Albatross Press and the Third Reich (Yale UP 2017) at the Wesleyan University RJ Julia Bookstore this Thursday April 5, 2018 at 7:00 PM (ET).
A review in Publishers Weekly describes the book as “a riveting exploration that brilliantly pieces together the engrossing lives and corporate chess game of the leaders of the Albatross Press.” The Washington Post, Kirkus, Times Literary Supplement, Jewish Book Council, Times Higher Education, and the Spectator, are among those who have also favorably reviewed Troy’s work.
Taking readers back to the 1930s, Troy tells the story of the Albatross Press, a precursor to Penguin that entered into an uneasy relationship with the Nazi regime to keep Anglo-American literature alive under fascism. Albatross was funded by British-Jewish interests. Its roguish director was rumored to have worked for British intelligence. It distributed both middlebrow fiction and works by edgier modernist authors such as D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway to eager continental readers. Yet Albatross printed and sold its paperbacks in English from the heart of Hitler’s Reich. Troy discusses how the Nazi regime tolerated Albatross—for both economic and propaganda gains—and how Albatross exploited its insider position to promote Anglo-American culture. In so doing, Troy exposes the contradictions in Nazi censorship while offering an engaging detective story, a history, a nuanced analysis of men and motives, and a cautionary tale.