Skip to main content

Image: "Breakers" (1936) by Emil Nolde

Is it right to admire works created by artists we despise? In this lecture, James Skidmore explores whether it’s possible to separate art from the artists.

Using three case studies from German culture – Leni Riefenstahl (filmmaker), Emil Nolde (painter), and Peter Handke (writer) – Skidmore will discuss the thorny issues surrounding the appreciation and study of creative works by creators whose political or social views we find abhorrent.

Lecture Video

Review the lecture transcript.

Further Reading and Resources

About the Instructor

James Skidmore is the Director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, a research institute at the University of Waterloo. A member of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies since 2000, Skid studied at the University of Saskatchewan before earning his PhD at Princeton University. Professor Skidmore research focuses on the representation of political and social change in contemporary German-language literature and film. He is also an award-winning instructor who specializes in online and open education. Learn more at

About Lifelong Learning at Home

Lifelong Learning at Home is a free weekly series featuring pre-recorded lectures from some well-known Laurier faculty and community experts. Visit the Lifelong Learning at Home section to explore other lectures and to find out more about this limited series offered by the Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning.

Lifelong Learning at Home was created to connect people through lifelong learning during this time of unprecedented challenges. Many Laurier students are experiencing significant financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are in a position to do so, you can help us support our students by donating to Laurier's COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which provides emergency financial support, health and wellness support and teaching and learning support during this challenging time.