Berber/Droste:Die Tänze des Lasters, des Grauens und der Ekstase [Dances of Vice, Horror & Ecstasy]. Poems, photographs and drawings by Anita Berber and Sebastian Droste. Gloriette-Verlag, Vienna, 1923. 72 pp. Small quarto. Numbered edition of 1000 copies. Hardbound. Vellum over boards with illustrated front cover and endpapers with cloth spine. 16 black-and-white reproductions of photographs. 3 color plates by Berber, 7 captioned color plates by Harry Tauber. |
An iconic book of pre-war decadence! Anita Berber (1899-1928) was Weimar Germany's Dionysian, burlesque dancer extraordinaire, famous/notorious for a life of bisexuality, drugs and semi-naked performance. She died of Tuberculosis at age twenty-nine.
With her sometime husband and dancing parter Sebastian Droste she published in 1923 a book of poetry, photographs, and drawings called Die Tänze des Lasters, des Grauens und der Ekstase (Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstasy), based on their performance of the same name.
In Berlin, "Berber was known to dance in the Eldorado, a homosexual and transvestite bar, where Rudi Anhang, dancer and jazz banjoist, accompanied her. Berber's speciality was a depraved dance number entitled 'Cocaine', performed to the music of Camille Saint-Saens. She also did a piece called 'Morphium'" (Kater).
In 1925 she was the subject of an expressionist portrait, entitled The Dancer Anita Berber, by the painter Otto Dix. It's not particularly flattering, making her look much older - and judging by photographs - less attractive than she actually was.
Sources: Hisotry is Made at Night: The Politics of Dancing and Musicking ; Michael H. Kater, Different Drummers: Jazz in the culture of Nazi Germany; Karl Eric Toepfer, Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935.
About Near Fine; nice tight binding; small number stamp (of later vintage) on title page; moderate wear & traced of abrasion to corners; light finger smudging and some very faint damp stains.