Henry Boernstein, Radical, and The Mysteries of St. Louis as a Political Novel

  • Matthias Göritz
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


German-American author Henry Boernstein’s highly charged novel, The Mysteries of St. Louis, was serialized in the leading German-language newspaper Anzeiger des Westens in 1851. Boernstein’s text, a classic melodrama about immigration following the model of the then-popular city mysteries, sought to achieve an alliance of the popular and the political elite, an alliance that would yield not simply a “New Germany,” the utopian community sought by the Giessen Emigration Society on the Western frontier. Through his novel, Boernstein created instead a formula for a viable and enduring German identity that embraced political activism within the framework of the new United States, which was soon to experience Civil War.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Göritz
    • 1
  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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