publishing ‘Mein Kampf’

96179412-79a9-11e6-a967-d76ae2cbdd22Anson Rabinbach at the Times Literary Supplement:

The heft and price of the new Mein Kampf is the best guarantee that it will not become a must-read in racist and extreme nationalist circles. The initial print run of 4,000 copies sold out in days, however, with 15,000 subscribers still awaiting delivery. Sales reached 14,000, securing it a second place on Der Spiegel’s bestseller list. In other words, Mein Kampf, so long out of print, has become a celebrity book, eagerly acquired by bibliophiles and comparable to prestige editions of Shakespeare or historical-critical editions of theLeitfiguren of the German intellectual pantheon. Released from the poison cabinet, Mein Kampf has become a desirable commodity.

The critical edition is a sober affair, comprising nearly 2,000 pages with over 3,700 notes in two imposing large-format volumes. The interlaced annotations by a first-rate research team are in reality a second book. The purpose, the Institute’s Director, Andreas Wirsching, writes in the foreword, is the “demystification” of “the most comprehensive and in a sense the most intimate testimony of a dictator whose policies and whose crimes completely changed the world”. The annotations doggedly track Hitler’s biographical elisions, document his sources, correct his countless factual errors, and puncture his exaggerations. Flagging up scores of malapropisms, the editors dissect Mein Kampf’s style with a nod to Victor Klemperer’s brilliant reflections on the positive connotation given to words like “ruthless”, “brutal”, and “fanatical”, in his famous LTI: The language of the Third Reich (1947).

more here.