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The Fractured Self

Selected German Letters of the Australian-born Violinist Alma Moodie, 1918–1943

Edited By Kay Dreyfus

Alma Moodie’s letters from 1918 to 1943 span two of the most tumultuous decades of modern German history. They document the responses of an individual professional musician to the vicissitudes of her public and private life: the challenges of post-war economic and political instability in the Weimar Republic, the impact of the Great Depression, the exclusionist cultural policies of the Third Reich and the perils of war.

Australian-born, Moodie gives voice to the vulnerabilities of her position, living alone and constantly on tour as an unaccompanied, female virtuoso. She describes the profound satisfactions of her career triumphs, the joys and tensions of her marriage and her deep love for her children. Weaving through the narrative is the miracle of her ability as a virtuoso violinist, an ability that commanded the admiration and respect of many of the leading cultural figures of the day. Famous conductors, prominent musicians, contemporary composers, writers and art connoisseurs all fell under the spell of her sensational playing and lively personality.

Originally written in three languages, the letters are made available here for the first time in English translation. Extensive annotations place the letters in their historical context while short essays by specialists in their fields reflect on particular themes.

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