By Heidi Zogbaum
Writer of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and different renowned novels approximately Mexico, B. Traven surrounded his identification with mysteries designed to confound biographers. Now Heidi Zogbaum has produced a research of this enigmatic but very important writer, linking his oeuvre with either Mexican and German politics of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties. so much prior works on Traven were both literary reviews or mere makes an attempt to set up his id. prior theories, for instance, have labelled him the illegitimate son of Kaiser Wilhelm II or of Mexican President, Adolfo Lopez Mateos. Dr Zogbaum, even though, systematically explores for the 1st time Traven's fascination with the nice political episodes of his day. The German author who could name himself B. Traven got here to Mexico in 1924, drawn like many different left-wing intellectuals by way of the country's innovative scan. within the following years he wrote novels and brief tales that at the beginning glorified, then criticized, the country's financial and political structures. His large output brought German, British and US audiences to contemporary advancements in Mexico and to the country's rural staff, whose exploitation endured approximately unchecked less than the hot regime. The ebook is equipped chronologically, taking the reader via Traven's profession from his arrival in Mexico to his ultimate writings in 1940. during her research, Dr Zogbaum presents designated discussions of all of Traven's significant novels, displaying how Mexican historical past encouraged him and formed his works. furthermore, this examine finds how occasions in Germany, the place Traven's fundamental viewers lived, affected his writing. whereas exciting his readers, Traven sought additionally to additional their political schooling, utilizing occasions in Mexico as beginning issues for observation on Hitler's dictatorship. ultimately, Dr Zogbaum establishes the worth of Traven's works as old assets documenting the infamous logging exchange of southern Mexico. students of recent German literature and proletarian fiction should still locate this quantity necessary. besides the fact that, its remedy of Traven within the context of up to date politics should still make this booklet an both beneficial resource for an individual drawn to progressive Mexico and the far-reaching financial difficulties the rustic nonetheless faces.
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Extra info for B. Traven: a vision of Mexico
Traven. Marut, a recognized authority on Stirner in Munich, argued in his articles for the overthrow of the state and capitalism with the aim of securing personal freedom. " 15 Marut rejected group action in any form; he believed, instead, in individual action. He argued that "the masses do not think because they cannot think. Therefore, we have [political] parties, programs, and leaders. 17 Being a strident critic of the military, of World War I, and of the bourgeois German press and its role during the war, he became the press censor of the München-Augsburger Abendzeitung, a Munich evening newspaper.
The IWW was very different from the labor organizations that Marut/Traven had known in Germany, where he had experienced a trade union movement that had become "respectable" after voting for the war grants in 1914. After the defeat of 1918 the German Socialist party agreed to pick up the pieces, always proud to be of service. The German working class and its unions consistently supported the Socialist coalition government in its efforts to rebuild Germany's international reputation and to suppress the more radical elements of their own membership.
But a closer look at the archives, which fill several rooms of his house in Mexico City, reveals that Traven, in his frenzied attempts to brush over his tracks, also edited his private papers in such a way that many remain incomprehensible unless given a historical context that it seems only Traven could provide. At the time, it must have looked like an effective way of keeping out prying eyes without having to destroy his entire archives. Working from Traven's personal records, without recourse to sources that allow us to place his papers in the context from which they sprang, poses the danger of using his records according to Traven's directions.
B. Traven: a vision of Mexico by Heidi Zogbaum