German Literature and the Foundation of the Second Empire

  • Ronald Speirs
Part of the New Perspectives in German Studies book series (NPG)

Abstract

In this essay I address three main questions: What were the effects of the unification of 7870–71 on the intellectual and literary life of Germany? How was unification anticipated by writers? What light does imaginative literature shed on the process of unification? These are large and complex issues that can only be dealt with in outline here.1

Keywords

Coherence Assim Ilation Tria Cond Harness 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For more detailed analyses see W. Pape (ed.), 1870/71 — 1989/90. German Unifications and the Change of Literary Discourse (Berlin/New York 1993); K. Ammann and K. Wagner (eds), Literatur und Nation: Die Griindung des Deutschen Reiches 1871 in der deutschspraclzigen Literatur (Wien/Köln/Weimar 1996); Peter Sprengel, Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Literatur 1870–1900 (Munchen 1998); and Stefan Neuhaus, Literatur und nationale Einheit in Deutschland (Tubingen/Basel 2002).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cited in Walter Pape, “‘Hurra, Germania — mir graut vor dir”: Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Freiligrath, Herwegh, and the German Unification of 1870/71’ in 1870/71 -1989/90, op. cit., p. 109.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 115.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    L. Auerbach, ‘Kaiserhymne’ in H.L. Arnold (ed.), Deutschland! Deutschland? (Frankfurt a. M. 2002), p. 301.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Ferdinand Freiligrath, ‘Hurra, Germania!’ (25. Juli 1870) in Helene Adolf (ed.), Dern neuen Reich entgegen 1850–71. Deutsche Literatur in Entwicklungsreihen. Reihe Politische Dichtung. Band 6 (Leipzig 1930), pp. 17–20.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    The disputes about whether the wars against Napoleon were to be thought of as ‘wars of liberation’ (Befreiungskriege) or ‘wars for liberty’ (Freiheitskriege) are outlined in Peter Brandt’s essay, ‘Die Befreiungskriege von 1813 bis 1815 in der deutschen Geschichte’ in P. Brandt (ed.), An der Schwelle zur Moderne. Deutschland um 1800 (Bonn-Bad Godesberg 1999), pp. 83–116.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    For a discussion of Fontane s understanding of his role as a patriotic Prussian writer, see the essay by Peter Wruck, ‘Theodor Fontane in der Rolle des vaterlandischen Schriftstellers’, in Friedhilde Krause (ed.), Theodor Fontane im literarischen Leben seiner Zeit, Beitrage aus der Deutschen Staatsbibliothek, 6 (Berlin 1987), pp. 1–39.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Theodor Fontane, Balladen und Gedichte. Saintliche Werke XX (Munchen 1962), p. 240.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Ibid., p. 241.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Ibid., pp. 241–2. For an account of the rhetorical appeals to the myths of Barbarossa and Germania at this period, see Peter Sprengel, Die inszenierte Nation. Deutsche Festspiele 18134913 (Tubingen 1991).Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    See, to take just one example, Hoffmann von Fallersleben’s ‘Vetter Michels Vaterland’ (April, 1848), in Elfriede Underberg (ed.), Die Dichtung der ersten deutschen Revolution 1848–1849. Deutsche Literatur in Entwicklungsreihen. Reihe Politische Dichtung, Band 5 (Leipzig 1930), pp. 221–2. For an overview of the changing national self-image embodied in Michel, see Eda Sagarra, ‘The strange history of der deutsche Michel. The role of national stereotypes in language teaching’, in: German as a Foreign Language 1,1 (April 2000), http://gfljournal.com.
  12. 18.
    Ferdinand Freiligrath, ‘Hamlet’ (April, 1844), in Ernst Volkmann (ed.), Um Einheit und Freiheit 1815–1848. Deutsche Literatur in Entwicklungsreihen. Reihe Politische Dichtung, Band 3 (Leipzig 1936), pp. 212–15.Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    Ibid., p. 214. In reaction to the self-critical Hamlet stereotype, Fortinbras, the man of action, came to be favoured by pro-nationalist writers; see, for example Julius Bab, Fortinbras oder Der Kampf des 19. Jahrhunderts mit dein Geiste der Romantik (Berlin 1921). For the evolution of the stereotype into the twentieth century, see F. Loquai, Hamlet und Deutschland. Zur literarischen Shakespeare-Rezeption im 20. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart 1993).Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    For an account of the contrasting developments of three former democrats, see Walter Pape, “‘Hurra, Germania — mir graut vor dir”: Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Freiligrath, Herwegh, and the German Unification of 1870/71’ in 1870/71 — 1989/90, op. cit., pp. 107–43.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
    Julian Schmidt, Bilder aus dem geistigen Leben unserer Zeit (Leipzig 1871), p. 441.Google Scholar
  16. 25.
    For details of Pfau’s lifelong polemical opposition to the Prussian dominated empire see E. Ziel (ed.), Politisches und Polemisches aus den nachgelassenen Schriften von Ludwig Pfau (Stuttgart 1893).Google Scholar
  17. 27.
    Theodor Fontane, Grete Minde. Imungen, Wimingen. Stine. Unterm Birnbaum. Samtliche Werke III (München 1962), p. 126.Google Scholar
  18. 31.
    Cited in Adolf Rapp, Friedrich Theodor Vischer und die Politik (Tubingen 1911), p. 160.Google Scholar
  19. 32.
    Ibid., p. 159Google Scholar
  20. 33.
    Ibid., p. 155.Google Scholar
  21. 38.
    Otto Franz Gensichen, ‘Gar lang beraten haben sie’ (1870), in Deutschland! Deutschland?, op. cit., pp. 260–1.Google Scholar
  22. 39.
    The taste for such contrasts between ‘them’ and ‘us’ was pandered to by the anti-modernist and anti-naturalist ‘homeland literature’ which enjoyed a boom after unification. As Boa and Palfreyman put it, ‘Heimat literature offered the antidote of womanly women and manly men’; see E. Boa and R. Palfreyman, Heimat. A German Dream (Oxford 2000), p. 38.Google Scholar
  23. 40.
    M.G. Conrad, ‘Vorrede zu “Die Gesellschaft”’, in Walther Killy (ed.), 20. Jahrhundert. Texte und Zeugnisse 1880–1933 (Mi.inchen 1967), p. 62.Google Scholar
  24. 41.
    Feodor Wehl, Zeit und Menschen. Tagebuchaufzeichnimgen von 1863–1884. Erster Band (Altona 1889), p. 239.Google Scholar
  25. 45.
    ‘David Strau4. Der Bekenner und Schriftsteller’, in Friedrich Nietzsche. Werke in drei Banden, Band 1(Mtinchen 1962), p. 37.Google Scholar
  26. 46.
    Ibid., p. 40.Google Scholar
  27. 48.
    Cited from Michael Thormann, ‘Der programmatische Realismus der Grenzboten’, in Internationales Archiv fi1r die Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur, 1993,18/1, p. 63.Google Scholar
  28. 49.
    Ibid., p. 64.Google Scholar
  29. 50.
    See Werner Michler, ‘An den Siegeswagen gefesselt. Wissenschaft und Nation bei Wilhelm Scherer’, in Literatur und Nation, op. cit., pp. 233–66.Google Scholar
  30. 51.
    See Martin Durrell’s essay, ‘Political Unity and Linguistic Diversity in Nineteenth Century Germany’ in Maiken Umbach (ed.), German Federalism. Past, Present, Future (Basingstoke 2002), pp. 91–112.Google Scholar
  31. 54.
    For an excellent picture of Raabe’s development in the 1860s, see Jochen Meyer, Wilhelm Raabe. Unter Demokraten, Hoflieferanten und Philistern. Eine Chronik seiner Stuttgarter )alhre, Edition Marbacher Magazin (Stuttgart 1981).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Ronald Speirs

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