Nationalism Versus Cosmopolitanism in German Thought and Culture 1789-1914

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This book is a contribution to a 21st century understanding of the historical origins of the dual consciousness of national and European identity as they developed within the circles of 19th century German writers, theorists, philosophers, musicians, and artists. Two fundamental factors led to the conception of this book: firstly, the recognition that perceptions of German nationhood have been a crucial factor within European consciousness since long before the existence of Germany as a unified State, and, secondly, an acknowledgement that bitter memories of the two World Wars of the 20th century have sometimes obscured the record of Germany’s vast contribution to European cultural and intellectual history. As a collection of essays, this work portrays these developments against the background of a broad spectrum of German literature, music, philosophy, political criticism, art and architecture, also analyzing French and British reactions to German ideas, providing the reader with a broader intellectual and historical context than would be otherwise possible.


“This volume contains a very welcome collection of essays on the critical question of German and European identities in the long 19th century. As several of the authors point out, identification with a German nation – or a nation-state – was by no means incompatible, particularly in the pivotal early part of the century, with the championing of the idea of Europe. Indeed, it was commonly belived that Germany’s mission was to safeguard and enrich a wider European heritage. By investigating the views of figures such as Schiller, the Schlegel brothers, Novalis, Heine, Wagner, Nietzsche, and Rathenau, the authors show the myriad ways in which nationalism and cosmopolitanism overlapped … The editors have performed a great service in brining together contributions from such a range of academics to a largely unwritten history of national sentiment and European ideals.” – (from the Preface) Dr. Mark Hewitson, University College London

“…The question of German national identity within a changing Europe has, of course, attracted a great deal of attention in our contemporary, post-Wende world, so it is refreshing to see such a high-quality volume devoted to exploring aspects of the question, and the context, in the period overshadowed by Germany’s previous unification, the long 19th century … The volume will have broad appeal on both sides of the Atlantic and warrants marketing to scholars and students of German literary and cultural studies, German history and politics, and Anglo-German (literary and intellectual) relations.” – Dr. Duncan Large, University of Wales Swansea

“This is a valuable, rich and absorbing contribution to knowledge about nationalism generally and German nationalism and history in particular … The interdisciplinary approach is not allowed to endanger the sense of coordination and progression, as the chapters are consistent in the theme, and the whole is held expertly and firmly together by the taught analysis of the editors.” – Dr. John Davis, Kingston University

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface – Mark Hewitson
Introduction – Mary Anne Perkins
1. ‘Before the Storm: Internationalism before German-ness’ – Jim Reed
2. ‘Antiquity, Christianity and “die Germanen”: Forging an Identity in the Modern World’ – Maike Oergel
3. ‘Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism in the Writings of August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel’ – Mary Anne Perkins
4. ‘Nationalism and Europeanism in German Romantic Literature’ – Paul Bishop
5. ‘The Critical Image: Heinrich Heine and a Liberal German Identity’ – John Walker
6. ‘Wagner, Liszt, Berlioz and the “New German School” ’ – Alexander Rehding
7. ‘Perceptions of German-ness and the Teutonic Character in Victorian Political Thought – Georgios Varouxakis
8. ‘National Monuments and the Mythologies of German Nationalism’ – Matthew Jefferies
9. Nietzsche, the “good European”? Or: The Praise of Prejudice in Beyond Good and Evil and the Will to Power’ – Rüdiger Görner
10. ‘Nationalism, Europe and the Empire of the Soul: On the Antagonism of Walter Rathenau’s Jewish and German Identity’ – Martin Liebscher

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