History, Fiction, and Germany: Writing the Nineteenth-century Nation

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Wayne State University Press, 2005 - 360 Seiten
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The German-speaking inhabitants of central Europe did not automatically think of themselves as "Germans"—not before 1871 and not always after unification. In fact, they spoke mutually incomprehensible dialects, owed allegiance to different leaders, worshiped in different churches, and would not have recognized each other’s customs. If asked about their identity, these prospective Germans might have answered Austrian, Bavarian, or Prussian, and they could as easily have used more local labels or resorted to occupational markers. For this disparate population to think of itself as "German," that word had to acquire content—people had to learn a whole set of stories they could tell themselves and to others in answer to the question of identity.

History, Fiction, and Germany chronicles how German nationalism developed simultaneously with the historical novel and the field of history, both at universities and in middlebrow reading material. The book examines Germany’s emerging national narrative as nineteenth-century writers adapted it to their own visions and to changing circumstances. These writers found and popularized the nation’s heroes and heroines, demonized its villains and enemies, and projected the nation’s hopes and dreams for the future. Author Brent O. Peterson argues that it was the production and consumption of national history—the writing and reading of the nation—that filled Germany with Germans. Although the task of national narration was never complete and never produced a single, universally accepted version of German national identity, tales from Germans’ gradually shared history did more to create Germany than any statesman, general, or philosopher. History, Fiction, and Germany provides a valuable resource for scholars and students of German studies, as well as anyone interested in history and the articulation of national identity.

 

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Ausgewählte Seiten

Inhalt

The Past as History and Fiction
29
Caste and Regional Identities
69
From Frederick the Great to Old Fritz
97
Explaining Jena
147
The German People Ariseand Marry
199
The Myth of a Common Post
267
NOTES
273
BIBLIOGRAPHY
331
INDEX
345
Urheberrecht

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Beliebte Passagen

Seite 4 - Forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error, is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation, which is why progress in historical studies often constitutes a danger for [the principle of] nationality.

Über den Autor (2005)

Brent O. Peterson is associate professor and chair of the German department at Lawrence University. He is author of Popular Narratives and Ethnic Identity: Literature and Community in Die Abendschule (Cornell University Press, 1991).

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