Images of Post-unification Germany in Henry James ́ Travel Sketches: "Homburg Reformed" and "Darmstadt"

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 64 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 1998 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: Good, University of Vienna (Anglistics/American Studies), course: The Image of German Speaking Countries in American Texts from 1860 to 1930, 28 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The first chapter of this paper presents a survey of Henry James' biography. Special emphasis is given to his experiences in Germany. The reader has to take into consideration that especially his early experiences in relation with Germany shaped his attitude and influenced his image of the country throughout his life. The second chapter gives a brief overview of the historical events that lead to the German unification and the political situation of Germany shortly after the unification, the time, when Henry James visited the country. The presentation of the historical background will help the reader to understand the allusions made in Henry James' travel sketches Homburg Reformed and Darmstadt. The third chapter presents the American opinion of the unification and establishes a connection between Henry James' view and the public opinion, as Henry James' opinion in that matter generally corresponded to the public opinion in America. The fourth chapter explains the background of the two travel sketches followed by a detailed analysis of the texts. The analysis focuses on Henry James' image of Germany and his allusions on the unification. Statements of his letters and his autobiography and comparisons to contemporary travel literature constituted further points of reference for the analysis.

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The American Opinion of the German
Homburg Reformed and Darmstadt
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Page 11 - Americans born — il faut en prendre son parti. I look upon it as a great blessing; and I think that to be an American is an excellent preparation for culture. We have exquisite qualities as a race, and it seems to me that we are ahead of the European races in the fact that more than either of them we can deal freely with forms of civilization not our own, can pick and choose and assimilate and in short (aesthetically etc) claim our property where we find it. To have no national stamp has hitherto...
Page 10 - The long vistas of the beeches and poplars on the other side of the Rhine, after we had crossed by the funicular ferry, gothically rustled and murmured: I fancied their saying perpetually "We are German woods, we are German woods— which makes us very wonderful, do you know? and unlike any others: don't you feel the spell of the very sound of us and of the beautiful words, 'Old German woods, old German woods,
Page 2 - They are not his sons but are with him for intellectual cultivation, "all the comforts of a home" etc. This is an opportunity for me to see something of German life, in what would be called, I suppose the middle classes. I naturally compare it with the corresponding life at home, and think it truly inferior. The women stop at home all day, doing the house-work, drudging, and leading the most homely and I should say joyless lives. I fancy they never look at a book, and all their conversation is about...
Page 21 - ... The Italian painters of the great schools certainly often enough fall short of beauty — miss it, overlook it, wander erringly to one side of it ; but its name, at least, is always on their lips and its image always at their hearts. The early Germans do not seem to have suspected that such a thing existed, and the painter's mission, in their eyes, is simply to appropriate, ready-made, the infinite variations of grotesqueness which they regard as the necessary environment of the human lot.
Page 18 - Sometimes, picturesquely, it is very much to the point; but the American traveller in Germany will generally prefer not to enjoy local color in this particular form, for it invariably reminds him of the most sordid, the most squalid prose he knows — the cornergroceries and the region of the docks in the city of New York.
Page 2 - ... and holds its own against any Italian memories. The light, the weather, the time, were all, this evening most propitious to our visit. — This rapid week in Germany has filled us with reflections and observations, tossed from the railway windows on our course, and irrecoverable at this late hour. To me, this hasty and most partial glimpse of Germany has been most satisfactory; it has cleared from my mind the last mists of uncertainty and assured me that I can never hope to become an unworthiest...
Page 20 - ... green bag full of Greek roots, I suppose, of whom I asked my way; and the third was the sturdy little musketeer who was trying to impart a reflet of authority to the neat little white house occupied by the Prince Karl. But this frowning soldier is no proper symbol of the kindly custom of the house. I was admitted unconditionally, ushered into the little drawing-room, and allowed half an hour's undisturbed contemplation of the beautiful Holbein — the famous picture of the Meyer family.
Page 4 - The German dead, the German dead !" I above all say to myself — in such hecatombs have they been ruthlessly piled up by those who have driven them, from behind, to their fate; and it for the moment almost makes me forget Belgium — though when I remember that disembowelled country my heart is at once hardened to every son of a...

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