Enlightenment Phantasies: Cultural Identity in France and Germany, 1750-1914

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Cornell University Press, 2003 - History - 227 pages
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For centuries the histories of France and Germany have been linked in ways productive and destructive, and each nation's sense of itself has often been shaped by admiration of or hostility toward the other. Harold Mah explores the interweaving paths of German and French cultural identity that emerged in the Enlightenment and continued through the 19th century and into the 20th. formulate stable cultural identities constantly collapsed in the face of other powerful images and the rush of history. In Mah's view, these shifting conceptions of cultural identity are problematic phantasies, internally unstable and prone to falling apart under the pressure of events, only to be replaced by new, equally problematic constructions. Mah offers fresh analyses of a wide range of iconic texts and artworks, including those of Jacques-Louis David, de Stael, Diderot and Rousseau in France and Goethe, Hegel, Herder, Mann, Marx and Nietzsche in Germany. in issues of language, gender, classical revival, politics and modernity. Enlightenment Phantasies presents the shaping of cultural identity in narratives accessible not only to specialists but also to students and all readers concerned with the history of Western culture.

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The Man with Too Many Qualities
The Language of Cultural Identity
Strange Classicism

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About the author (2003)

Harold Mah teaches European cultural and intellectual history at Queen's University, Canada. He is the author of The End of Philosophy, the Origin of Ideology: Karl Marx and the Crisis of the Young Hegelians.

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