Rene Blum and The Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

The biography of a fascinating cultural hero, Rene Blum and the Ballets Russes uncovers the events in the life of the enigmatic and brilliant writer and producer who perished in the Holocaust. Brother of Leon Blum, the first socialist prime minister of France, Rene Blum was a passionate and prominent litterateur. He was the editor of the chic literary journal Gil Blas where he met such celebrated figures as Claude Debussy, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Andre Gide, and Paul Valery. As author Judith ...
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Rene Blum and The Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life

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Overview

The biography of a fascinating cultural hero, Rene Blum and the Ballets Russes uncovers the events in the life of the enigmatic and brilliant writer and producer who perished in the Holocaust. Brother of Leon Blum, the first socialist prime minister of France, Rene Blum was a passionate and prominent litterateur. He was the editor of the chic literary journal Gil Blas where he met such celebrated figures as Claude Debussy, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Andre Gide, and Paul Valery. As author Judith Chazin-Bennahum's research illustrates, Blum actually arranged for the publication of Proust's Swann's Way. But Blum's accomplishments and legacy do not end there: after enlisting in World War I, he won the Croix de Guerre and became a national hero. And Blum resurrected the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo after Diaghilev's death. Tragically, he was arrested in 1941 during a roundup of Jewish intellectuals and ultimately sent to Auschwitz.
Based on a treasure trove of previously undiscovered letters and documents, this thoroughly researched narrative not only tells the poignant story of Blum's life but also illustrates Blum's central role in the development of dance in the United States. Indeed, Blum's efforts to save his ballet company eventually helped to bring many of the world's greatest dancers and choreographers--among them Fokine, Balanchine, and Nijinska--to American ballet stages, shaping the path of dance in the United States for years to come.
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Editorial Reviews

Jennifer Homans
Blum now has a biographer. She is Judith Chazin-Bennahum, a historian of dance&#8230Her research is worthy, and we owe her a debt for bringing Blum back into historical view.
&#151The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
Unlike his French prime minister brother, Léon, René Blum (1878–1941) spent his life in a cultural rather than political milieu. As editor of the literary journal Gil Blas, he was acquainted with the likes of Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Claude Debussy, Paul Valéry, and Marcel Proust. A man of arts as well as letters, Blum was a theatrical manager whose forte was producing and promoting dance. Acording to Chazin-Bennahum (Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theatre & Dance, Univ. of New Mexico), "Blum is revered for having saved the Ballets Russes from probable extinction after the death of Diaghilev in 1929." In 1932, in partnership with Colonel W. de Basil, Blum resurrected Diaghilev's Ballets Russes as the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, which existed until 1963. To compile this biography, Chazin-Bennahum mined a wealth of previously untapped primary sources and unearthed numerous photographs from several archival collections. Blum's own autobiography has been lost since he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz in 1941. VERDICT Balletomanes, Francophiles, and students of European cultural history will enjoy this scholarly and meticulously researched work.—Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199831760
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Judith Chazin-Bennahum, former ballet dancer, is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Janet Rowson Davis Introduction Chapter 1: Childhood and Youth: The Formation of an Intellectual and Aesthete Chapter 2: René Blum, Man of Letters Chapter 3: Marcel Proust and René Blum: An Uncommon Friendship Chapter 4: The Great War and René Blum Chapter 5: The Stately Pleasure Dome: René Blum and the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo Chapter 6: René and Josette: Romance in Monte Carlo Chapter 7: The Resurrection of the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo Chapter 8: Blum Brings Michel Fokine into the Fold Chapter 9: The New World Calls: Blum Sells the Company to Americans Chapter 10: Blum's Last Days Epilogue Appendix: List of Productions in Monte Carlo Notes List of René Blum's Publications and Other Writings Select Bibliography

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