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Volume 108, Number 3, Fall 2016 Table of Contents


B. Venkat Mani and Pamela M. Potter
Measuring the World. Preface


Julie K. Allen
Taking the Measure of National Greatness: Georg Brandes’s Condemnation of German Imperialism

In numerous public speeches and essays published around the turn of the 20th century, the Danish intellectual Georg Brandes (1842–1927) criticized Germany’s imperialistic behavior, in particular its oppressive treatment of the Danish minority in Slesvig-Holstein, as incompatible with true national greatness. In Brandes’s view, many of the same traits and actions that bolstered Germany’s national pride and international might violated human rights and compromised human dignity, thus diminishing Germany’s moral and cultural stature. Grounded in the traditions of bourgeois liberalism, Brandes’s brand of cosmopolitan nationalism privileges the “universal” conception of the nation as a civic union in which the rights of heterogeneous ethnic groups must be protected by the state to which they belong, regardless of that state’s dominant linguistic and ethnic identity. His defense of oppressed minority groups against the economic and military might of German imperialism exemplifies his privileging of the universal over the national.


Peter Goßens
Das Wetterleuchten der Weltliteratur. Eine Debatte um 1900

Georg Brandes’s essay Weltlitteratur,“ which appeared in the Litterarische Echo in 1899, marks the beginning of a debate lasting until World War I about the relationship of world literature and Heimatdichtung. The debate culminated in the conflicts of its two most prominent representatives, the Jewish literary scholar Richard M. Meyer and the nationalist literary historian Adolf Bartels. The two had their first encounter in 1900 over their respective histories of German literature, as Bartels launched a relentless antisemitic campaign against Meyer’s work. When they both published their histories of world literature in 1913, the debate was revived. Bartels rejected any form of cosmopolitan world literature discourse put forth by Meyer. For Bartels, instead, the question of the “Wesen des Volkstums” was the true essence of literary studies. With this work, he stands, on the one hand, in the tradition of antisemitic thinking reminiscent of Ernst Moritz Arndt and, on the other hand, appears as an early cultivator of the kind of nationalist racial and cultural policy that would culminate in the crimes of National Socialism.


Karolina May-Chu
Measuring the Borderland in Sabrina Janesch’s Katzenberge (2010)

This contribution considers the role that borders and borderlands play in ‘measuring the world.’ I argue that the increased awareness of the inherent tensions of borders and border spaces and their shifting constellations have produced a border poetics. Border poetics is a particular narrative and cultural practice that moves borders to the center of the narrative and turns actual topographic and geopolitical border sites into a staging ground for more universally oriented figurative and literal border crossings. The analysis of Katzenberge highlights how ‘world,’ when measured from the perspective of the borderland, is made visible as a network of flexible and highly mobile constellations of affiliation and belonging between variously conceived boundaries. Because of the simultaneous engagement with universal and particular border experiences, and its commitment to flexible trans-border connections, border poetics can be understood as an idiom of the cosmopolitan imagination within the context of a “critical cosmopolitanism” (Delanty).


Daniel Purdy
China Circulating in Early Modern German Print Media

This paper argues broadly that China was an important concern at early modern German courts because East Asia constituted a region into which German electors hoped to expand their own political power. Their ventures were only sometimes successful, leading thus to a cycle of political engagement with and detachment from East Asia. Within the publishing world, information about China was constrained by the limited access Europeans had to the Middle Kingdom. Even though Jesuit missionaries provided the most scholarly accounts of the Chinese elite, their reports and translations did not satisfy the growing demand for writing about China; thus early modern publishers repeated many of the same narratives and descriptions of China in ever-new reformulations of familiar texts. This article examines the on-again, off-again media cycle of early modern representations of China.


Randall Halle
German Visual Culture: From National to European Style
This article focuses ostensibly on the moving image. It starts with a discussion of cinema six years before its invention. In doing so we step back from the projected moving image and consider its emergence in precisely the larger visual field dominated by the transition from universalist to national style. From there the article goes on to consider 1) the way that an attention to national style has affected cinema and shaped (German) film studies; 2) how the national style that culminated in New German Cinema has given way to a transnational European style undoing stable signifiers of German culture, with the ‘German images’ of the 1970s giving way in the 1990s to ‘images of Germany’ or even a more general ‘images made in Germany’; and 3) how the digital revolution in the 21st century has ruptured the frame of the silver screen and freed the moving image to stream through new formats and in new places and in which furthermore the changes wrought by digital reproducibility have resulted in what we can identify as a culture industry 2.0.


Katherine M. Robiadek
Worlding versus Worldview: Heidegger’s Thinking on Art as a Critique of German Historicism

This article suggests that Heidegger’s thinking about art is an integral part of his overall philosophical project critiquing dominant metaphysical views in the Germany of his time. Heidegger’s understanding of the work that art does assumes a central role in his project at a critical moment in German intellectual life when critiques of historicism were strengthening. Heidegger engages such critiques through pointing out connections between German historicism and modern metaphysics. My contribution is to detail some of what is at stake in Heidegger’s thinking about art as it connects to his critique of historicism on ontological grounds, specifically in the opposition of his understanding of a “world” created through art to the historicist “worldview.” Ultimately, I argue that the mode of thinking Heidegger associates with art is necessary for the ontological transformation needed for understanding human existence as the basis of history (instead of any metaphysical ideals, such as historicist progress).


Lisa Yager
Linguistic Borderlands: Exploring the Role of Language in Uwe Timm’s Morenga
This essay explores the link between language and power through the definition of political and personal borders exemplified in Uwe Timm’s novel Morenga, which depicts the Nama rebellion in German Southwest Africa. I investigate how the ideologies and atmosphere of this time are depicted with regard to the historical role of language in the German Colonial period, both in the submission and subjugation of the African language and dominance of the German language, and its role in the suppression of the native Nama and Herero people. I also explore the ways in which language is repeatedly part of a failed learning process in the novel, demonstrated by the inability to achieve inter-cultural understanding and its result in the creation of “new” pidgin languages. Furthermore, I investigate the use of bureaucratic language to convey an authoritative presence, as it is used in historical and pseudo-historical documents and focalization through various figures and media throughout the novel.



Abel, Julia, Walter Benjamins Übersetzungsästhetik. Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers im Kontext von Benjamins Frühwerk und seiner Zeit (Rolf J. Goebel)
Berger, Karina, Heimat, Loss and Identity: Flight and Expulsion in German Literature from the 1950s to the Present (Friederike Eigler)
Eigler, Friederike, Heimat, Space, Narrative: Toward a Transnational Approach to Flight and Expulsion (Anke S. Biendarra)
Gunkel, David and Paul A. Taylor, Heidegger and the Media (Markus Weidler)
Heiduschke, Sebastian, East German Cinema: DEFA and Film History (Stefan Soldovieri)
Hennig, Matthias, Das andere Labyrinth. Imaginäre Räume in der Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts (Monika Schmitz-Emans)
Hermes, Stefan und Sebastian Kaufmann, Hrsg., Der ganze Mensch – die ganze Menschheit. Völkerkundliche Anthropologie, Literatur und Ästhetik um 1800 (Carl Niekerk)
Holzmüller, Anne, Lyrik als Klangkunst. Klanggestaltung in Goethes Nachtliedern und ihren Vertonungen von Reichardt bis Wolf (Hannah V. Eldridge)
Hurley, Andrew Wright, Into the Groove: Popular Music and Contemporary German Fiction (Ulrich Adelt)
Knoblich, Aniela, Antikenkonfigurationen in der deutschsprachigen Lyrik nach 1990 (Erk Grimm)
Kössler, Reinhart, Negotiating the Past: Namibia and Germany (Joachim Zeller)
Mayer, Petra, Zwischen unsicherem Wissen und sicherem Unwissen. Erzählte Wissensformationen im realistischen Roman: Stifters „Der Nachsommer“ und Vischers „Auch Einer“ (Shoshana Schwebel)
McFarland, Rob and Michelle Stott James, eds., Sophie Discovers Amerika: German-Speaking Women Write the New World (Marcel P. Rotter)
Mueller-Vollmer, Kurt, Transatlantic Crossings and Transformations: German-American Cultural Transfer from the 18th to the End of the 19th Century (Cora Lee Kluge)
Niven, Bill, Representations of Flight and Expulsion in East German Prose Works (Friederike Eigler)
Norberg, Jakob, Sociability and Its Enemies: German Political Theory After 1945 (Peter Uwe Hohendahl)
Penny, H. Glenn, Kindred by Choice: Germans and American Indians since 1800 (Jeffrey L. Sammons)
Polzer, Markus und Philipp Vanscheidt, Hrsg., Fontes Litterarum. Typographische Gestaltung und literarischer Ausdruck (Peter Krapp)
Poor, Sara S. and Nigel Smith, ed., Mysticism and Reform, 1400–1750 (Claire Taylor Jones)
Prager, Debra N., Orienting the Self: The German Literary Encounter with the Eastern Other (Todd Kontje)
Rose, Sven-Erik, Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789–1848 (Jeffrey Grossman)
Skolnik, Jonathan, Jewish Pasts, German Fictions: History, Memory, and Minority Culture in Germany, 1824–1955 (Abigail Gillman)
Trop, Gabriel, Poetry as a Way of Life: Aesthetics and Askesis in the German Eighteenth Century (Johannes Schmidt)
Walther, Christian, Robert Gilbert. Eine zeitgeschichtliche Biografie (Alan Lareau)
Wilke, Sabine, German Culture and the Modern Environmental Imagination: Narrating and Depicting Nature (Caroline Schaumann)
Wolff, Lynn L., W.G. Sebald’s Hybrid Poetics: Literature as Historiography (Stephan Jaeger)