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Gerda Renée Blumenthal
(1923–2004)



Gerda Renée Blumenthal: Leben und Schaffen


Romanisten als Verfolgte des Nationalsozialismus (Deutsch)

Blumenthal, Gerda Renée, Prof. (Professor of French and Comparative Literature)

Biogr: G: 26.7.1923 Berlin; R: jüdisch bis 1949, dann kathol.; seit 1947 US-Staatsbürger; V: Adolf Blumenthal, 1882 Doemitz, Mecklenburg - 1945 New York; R: jüdisch, HNO-Facharzt; M: Olga Posin, 1898 Vilna, Litauen - 1970 Lugano; R: jüdisch, Lehrerin; Geschwister: Margot Romani, geb. 1916, Vera Brenson, 1918 - 1967; Emigration 1937 UDSSR, Moskau, 1938 Litauen, 1939 USA.

St: als jüdische Schülerin in Dt. verfolgt; 1941 - 45 Hunter Coll. New York, 1945 BA, Phi Beta Kappa; 1945 - 55 Columbia Univ., School of Gen. Studies, MA 1947, Prom. 1955. Lehrtätigkeit: 1946 - 52 Lect. French Columbia Univ., 1948 - 49 Studienaufenthalt Sorbonne, 1952 - 54 Jamestown Community Coll., N. Y., 1955 - 68 Assistant Prof., dann Prof. of French and Chairman, Dept. of Modern Languages, Washington Coll., Chestertown, Maryland; 1968 - Prof. of French and Comparative Literature, Catholic Univ. of America, Washington, D.C.

FSchwp: Französische Literatur des 20. Jhs.

Mitgl: MLA, Am. Comp. Assoc., Am. Assoc. of Univ. Professors, Am. Assoc. of Teachers of French.

Schriften: The Conquest of Dread; A Study of André Malraux, Diss. 1955. Publikationstitel: André Malraux: The Conquest of Dread, Baltimore, Md., 1960, Repr. 1979. Monogr: The Poetic Imagination of Georges Bernanos, Baltimore 1965.

Quellen: IBDCEE I, 124/25, Directory III, 52; schriftl. Auskünfte in Korrespondenz 1988.



Quelle: Christmann, Hans Helmut; Hausmann, Frank-Rutger (Hrsg.): Deutsche und österreichische Romanisten als Verfolgte des Nationalsozialismus. Tübingen, Stauffenburg, 1989: 274. (leicht modifiziert) (an, gbb)

Wir danken Frau Brigitte Narr (Stauffenburg Verlag Tübingen) sehr herzlich für die Genehmigung zur Veröffentlichung auf unserer Seite.

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Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945 (English)

Blumenthal, Gerda Renée, prof. of French; b. Berlin 26 July 1923. R: Roman Catholic, until 1949 Jewish. E: 1937 U.S.S.R, 1938 Latvia, 1939 U.S. Cit: 1947 U.S, fmly. Ger. F: Adolf B, b. Doemitz, Mecklenburg, Ger. 1882, d. New York 1945, Jewish, Dr. med, ear, nose and throat specialist, 1937 to U.S.S.R, 1938 to Latvia, 1939 to U.S. M: Olga Posin, b. Vilna, Lith, Russ. (Vilnius, U.S.S.R.) 1898, d. Lugano, Switz. on vacation 1970, Jewish, Gym. educ, physical therapist, emigr. with husband. S: Margot Romani, b. Berlin 1916, Gym. educ, emigr. with fam; Vera Brenson, b. Berlin 1918, d. New York 1967, emigr. with fam M. A, psychotherapist. 8 (none), C: (none).

1933-37 persecuted as only Jewish student in sch. 1937 emigr. with fam. to Moscow; father had med. position. 1938 emigr. with fam. to Latvia; admitted despite expiration of Ger. passports; recd. assist. from father's colleagues. Summer 1938 disabled by poliomyelitis. Sept. 1939 emigr. with fam. to U.S; mother and sisters worked as maids. 1941-45 att. Hunter Coll, New York; 1945 B.A, Phi Beta Kappa. 1945-55 att. Columbia Univ; 1947 M.A; 1955 Ph.D. Concurr: 1946-52 lect. on Fr, Columbia Univ, Sch. of Gen. Studies; 1948-49 Fr. govt. res. fel, Sorbonne; 1952-54 instr. of mod. lang. and comp. lit, Jamestown Community Coll, N.Y. 1955-68 assist. prof, then prof. of Fr. and chmn, dept. of mod. langs. Washington Coll, Chestertown, Md. From 1968 prof. of Fr. and comp. lit, Catholic Univ. of America, Washington, D. C. Spec. in modern French literature. Mem: M.L.A. (mem. prog. comm. 1978); Am. Comp. Lit. Assn; A.A.U.P; Am. Assn. of Teachers of Fr. A: (1980) Washington, D.C.

Biblio: "The Conquest of Dread; A study of André Malraux" (diss. 1955; publ. as André Malraux: The Conquest of Dread [Baltimore, Md, 1960]; reprinted as André Malraux [Westport, Conn, 1979]); The Poetic Imagination of Georges Bernanos (Baltimore, 1965).

Sources: Hand, Qu. - R.F.J.I.



Quelle: International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945, Vol. II, Part 1. München; New York u.a., K.G. Saur, 1983: 124-125. (ks)

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Gerda Renée Blumenthal: Veröffentlichungen


  • André Malraux: the conquest of the dread. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1960.
    [Rezension]
  • The poetic imagination of Georges Bernanos: an essay in interpretation. Baltimore, Hopkins Press, 1965.
  • Thresholds: a study of Proust, Birmingham, Ala., Summa Publ, 1984.

Übersetzungen:

  • Guide to the Bible by the monks of Maredsous [Aus dem Französischen von Gerda R. Blumenthal], London; Glasgow, Sands & Co., 1953.



Zusammengestellt aus dem KVK von Kirsten Süselbeck.

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Gerda Renée Blumenthal: Rezensionen zu ihren Veröffentlichungen


Andre Malraux: the Conquest of Dread. By GERDA BLUMENTHAL. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press; London: Oxford University Press. 1960. xii + 159 pp. 32s.

For the first few years after the war only France itself produced full-scale critical studies of Malraux; between 1945 and 1955 there appeared works by G. Picon, C. Mauriac, M. Savane, P. de Boisdeffre, and Jeanne Delhomme. Since then the French contribution has been confined to articles and reviews, and nearly all books about Malraux have originated in American universities. The Winter 1957 number of Yale French Studies was wholly devoted to him; the same year saw the publication of The Honor of Being a Man: the World of Andre Malraux, by Edward Gannon, S.J.; early in 1960, before the appearance of the work under review, Geoffrey H. Hartman, of Yale, contributed a volume on Malraux to Studies in Modern European Literature and Thought. None of there critics can rival the acumen displayed in Gaëtan Picon's Malraux par lui-même (1953), a masterly study whose value is enhanced through the inclusion of Malraux's comments an its findings; nor is it equalled in an earlier book by W. M. Frohock, André Malraux and the Tragic Imagination (Stanford, 1952), though this remains the most comprehensive and, on the whole, the most useful introduction in any language to Malraux's narrative techniques as well as to his thought. The other works in English mentioned above, including Dr Blumenthal's book, are of more limited scope: they are mostly concerned with metaphysical matters; they also require of the reader, because of their allusive and concentrated treatment, a close acquaintance with Malraux's work, often achieving thereby a degree of penetration which is hardly possible in a descriptive work like Professor Frohock's, meant for a newcomer to the world of Malraux.
The purpose of Dr Blumenthal's study is 'to show the presence of the saturnine element, that dark, allen counterpart of the divine, in all of Malraux's work, and to reveal its gradual transformation from an autonomous and all-determining force into one that is mastered and brought into creative relation to the human and the divine' (p. viii). She contrasts the hopeless struggle against an absurd fate of the ego-ridden 'conqueror' in the early novels (Les Conquérants, La Voie royale) with the fight waged against anguish and death by the revolutionaries of La Condition humaine and Le Temps du mépris, a fight which is still foredoomed to defeat, but defeat ennobled through a momentary communion in sacrifice. The note of hope heard in L'Espoir grows stronger in Les Noyers de l'Altenburg, Malraux's last work of fiction; it sounds loud and clear in Les Voix du silence, where he expounds a concept of art as a challenge to destiny. Dr Blumenthal makes only a passing reference to the later reflexions on art and aesthetics, La Métamorphose des Dieux.
Her approach to her subject is generally perceptive. The main themes are well brought out. The most helpful aspect of the work is the investigation of the part played by certain episodes in the novels in projecting and illuminating the Malruvian view of life. The analysis often suffers through being couched in language which, full as it is of echoes of Malraux (a feature due, no doubt, to a commendable wish to give a faithful rendering of his thought), tends to acquire, in Dr Blumenthal's translation or paraphrase, a ponderousness from which the original is usually free (not always free, however: Malraux is occasionally oracular in a way that almost invites parody).
The book has an index but no bibliography, and only two Malraux critics are mentioned. The common American habit of quoting extracts in translation is followed; the drawbacks of this regrettable practice are implicitly admitted (p. 118, n. 57), the author stating her intention of sometimes substituting her own version for the published one she generally uses. Quotation of the original text of Les Noyers de l'Altenburg would have avoided the slip 'fairy-ground giants' (p. 112) (for géants de faire), while an attentive reading of that work would have shown that the gas attack was launched from fixed containers, bonbonnes d'émission, not by releasing or hurling bombs as Dr Blumenthal repeatedly states (pp. 110-11).



Quelle: Rees, G.O.: "Andre Malraux: the Conquest of Dread. By GERDA BLUMENTHAL. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press; London: Oxford University Press. 1960. xii + 159 pp. 32s." In: French Studies XVI, 1 (1962): 83-84. (ks)

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Gerda Renée Blumenthal: Nachrufe, Würdigungen, Festschriften


Gerda Blumenthal, a former professor of French and chair of the modern languages department at Washington College, died April 18 at the Washington Hospital Center. She was 80.
"She was a great teacher, a luminary who had a major impact an a lot of students," recalls Thomas Pabon, a Spanish language professor who was hired by Blumenthal in 1965. "She was brilliant, she was kind, she was generous in every conceivable way."
Blumenthal began teaching at Washington College in 1955, and in 1964 became the first recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. An important scholar of 20th-century French literature, she continued her career at Catholic University, where she taught for 20 years until her retirement in 1988. She was the author of numerous critical and scholarly articles. She also wrote three books: Andre Malraux: The Conquest of Dread (1960), The Poetic Imagination of Georges Bernanos: An Essay In Interpretation (1965) and Thresholds: A Study of Proust (1984).
Former student Linda Towne Cades '68 said Dr. Blumenthal pushed and inspired her students in the most positive way, and encouraged them to analyze literature and take from it life's meaning. "She was a very wise, warm, wonderful human being who cared more than anything else about students and their learning. If I could give people one gift, it would be one course with her."
Christine Olpin Pabon '62, who now teaches modern languages at Washington College, remained close to Blumenthal throughout her lifetime.
"In addition to teaching us to think deeply about the text, she taught us to trust our own insights as long as we could back them up consistently and rigorously with text, Christine Pabon recalls. "She served as one of the primary models for my own teaching-communicating through her immense love of literature and her rigorous, demanding approach to textual explication the ideals, the method and the integrity which inspire my own best teaching," she says.
A memorial service for her will be held September 24 at Catholic University in Washington, DC. For more information, contact her nephew, Michael Brenson, at mfbrenson@aol.com, or by mail at 58 W. 70th Street, New York, NY 10023.



Quelle: Washington College Magazine, Spring 2004. (ks)

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Gerda Renée Blumenthal: Dokumente




Foto von Gerda Renée Blumenthal
Gerda Renée Blumenthal



Quelle: Washington College Magazine, Spring 2004. (ks)

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