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📙 German Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Reception, Adaptation, Transformation by Lynne Tatlock, Matt Erlin — free pdf


This volume examines the circulation and adaptation of German culture in the United States during the so-called long nineteenth century -- the century of mass German migration to the new world, of industrialization and new technologies, American westward expansion and Civil War, German struggle toward national unity and civil rights, and increasing literacy on both sides of the Atlantic. Building on recent trends in the humanities and especially on scholarship done under the rubric of cultural transfer, German Culture in Nineteenth-Century America places its emphasis on the processes by which Americans took up, responded to, and transformed German cultural material for their own purposes. Informed by a conception of culture as multivalent, permeable, and protean, the book focuses on the mechanisms, agents, and means of mediation between cultural spaces. Fourteen essays written by scholars from the United States and Germany treat such critical issues as translation, the circulation and reading of German books and magazines in America, the adaptation of German ideas and educational ideals in various public forums and institutions, the reception and transformation of European genres of writing such as serialized crime fiction and the encyclopedia, and the status of the ''German'' and the ''European'' in celebrations of American culture and criticisms of American racism. These essays explore the creative adaptation in local, regional, and national settings in the United States of cultural material that emanated from the German-speaking territories in Europe. In twentieth-century studies, ''Americanization'' is understood as the flow of American ideas, values, language, culture, and products into Europe. This collection of essays, in contrast, looks at nineteenth-century ''Americanization'' as a productive transformation or re-packaging of German ideas, values, and products in the United States. The volume will contribute to the ongoing re-conception of American culture as significantly informed by non-English-speaking European cultures. It participates in the efforts of historians and scholars of literature to rethink and re-theorize the construction of national cultures. Questions regarding hybridity, cultural agency, and strategies of acculturation have long been at the center of postcolonial studies, but, as this collection of essays demonstrates, these phenomena are not merely operative in encounters between colonizers and colonized. They are also fundamental to the early American reception and appropriation of German cultural materials.

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