A reading by the historian Robert Beachy from his book "Gay Berlin: Birthplace of Modern Identity" will be accompanied by songs of the Weimar era performed by the international cabaret entertainer Daniel Isengart, and conversation with editor and translator Carol Brown Janeway about sexual orientation and gay identity in pre-Weimar Berlin.

Deutsches Haus at NYU will present a reading on Tuesday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. by the historian and author Robert Beachy, from his book Gay Berlin: Birthplace of Modern Identity, accompanied by songs of the Weimar era, performed by the international cabaret entertainer Daniel Isengart, and conversation with the editor and translator Carol Brown Janeway about how our modern understanding of sexual orientation and gay identity was born in pre-Weimar Berlin.

Known already in the 1850’s for the friendly company of its “warm brothers” (German slang for men who love other men), Berlin, before the turn of the twentieth century, became a place where scholars, activists, and medical professionals could explore and begin to educate both themselves and Europe about new and emerging sexual identities. From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German activist described by some as the first openly gay man, to the world of Berlin’s vast homosexual subcultures, to a major sex scandal that enraptured the daily newspapers and shook the court of Emperor William II—and on through some of the very first sex reassignment surgeries—Robert Beachy uncovers the long-forgotten events and characters that continue to shape and influence the way we think of sexuality today.

Robert Beachy was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, and was raised in Mennonite communities in Puerto Rico and Indiana. Beachy attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, where he received his B.A., and earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago. Beachy’s recent research focuses on the origins and development of sexual identity in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Germany. His current project, Long Knives, focuses on homosexuality under the Nazi regime. He analyzes the complex evolution of Nazi thought and policies toward homosexuality from open tolerance to persecution. The history of homosexuality under the Nazis illuminates the multi-faceted relationship of homosexuality to right-wing movements in contemporary Western political and social thought.

Carol Brown Janeway, has been a leading advocate for literature in translation during her long career as senior vice-president and senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf. The list of international writers she has published includes such luminaries as Patrick Süskind, José Donoso, Yukio Mishima, Elsa Morante, Ivan Klíma, Robert Musil, and Nobel laureates Imre Kertész, Heinrich Böll, and Thomas Mann. She is the translator of seminal works by Bernhard Schlink (The Reader), Thomas Bernhard (My Prizes), Ferdinand von Schirach (Crime), Sándor Márai (Embers), Margriet de Moor (The Storm), and Daniel Kehlmann (Measuring the World), among others.

Daniel Isengart was born in Germany and raised in Paris and Munich. Inspired by Bob Fosse's Cabaret he created and directed his first cabaret variety show at age 13 in German High school and has ever since been dedicated to this particularly cosmopolitan form of live entertainment. In New York, he became a spokesperson and specialist in Weimar cabaret songs, particularly from the pens of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, whose entire collaborative repertoire is part of his performance portfolio, including a legally challenged chamber version of the duo's seminal "Seven Deadly Sins" in which he sings every single part. Isengart is known to always perform any foreign language songs at least partially in his own English translations to make them accessible for his American audiences.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. Thank you!

Gay Berlin: Birthplace of Modern Identity. An Evening with Robert Beachy is a DAAD-sponsored event. It is also made possible through the generous support of Knopf.

 

 


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