Colonial Fantasies: Conquest, Family, and Nation in Precolonial Germany, 1770-1870 / Edition 1

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Overview

Since Germany became a colonial power relatively late, postcolonial theorists and histories of colonialism have thus far paid little attention to it. Uncovering Germany’s colonial legacy and imagination, Susanne Zantop reveals the significance of colonial fantasies—a kind of colonialism without colonies—in the formation of German national identity. Through readings of historical, anthropological, literary, and popular texts, Zantop explores imaginary colonial encounters of "Germans" with "natives" in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century literature, and shows how these colonial fantasies acted as a rehearsal for actual colonial ventures in Africa, South America, and the Pacific.
From as early as the sixteenth century, Germans preoccupied themselves with an imaginary drive for colonial conquest and possession that eventually grew into a collective obsession. Zantop illustrates the gendered character of Germany’s colonial imagination through critical readings of popular novels, plays, and travel literature that imagine sexual conquest and surrender in colonial territory—or love and blissful domestic relations between colonizer and colonized. She looks at scientific articles, philosophical essays, and political pamphlets that helped create a racist colonial discourse and demonstrates that from its earliest manifestations, the German colonial imagination contained ideas about a specifically German national identity, different from, if not superior to, most others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Colonial Fantasies is an excellent contribution to the understanding of German colonialism and its representational regimes.”—John K. Noyes, University of Cape Town

“Susanne Zantop has already established herself as one of the leading scholars in eighteenth and nineteenth-century German literature and culture, and it is no surprise that her long-awaited book is so compelling. Her historically informed study of German fantasies. . . breaks new ground at the intersections of literature, philosophy, and the ‘political unconscious’.”—W. Daniel Wilson, University of California

Choice
[R]eaders interested in feminist theory, colonialism, and ethic issues will find [Colonial Fantasies] useful....[Zantop's] insights regarding the gendered undertones of the dreams, i.e., colonizer (male) and colonized (female), the difference between Germans and others, and the German colonizers in fictional familial settings are very helpful.
German Quarterly
A brilliant book well produced by Duke and a major German addition to Stanley Fish and Fredric Jameson's series on 'Post-contemporary Interventions.' There is a real reason to study things German!
International History Review
This is an important book which, developed in an interdisciplinary plane, argues persuasively for a widening of the field of colonial and post-colonial studies by exploring a historical period hitherto neglected by this critical approach. A readable book, based on meticulously researched material and sound scholarly foundations, it will introduce original and fascinating perspectives into a variety of scholarly disciplines.
Central European History
Taking a scholarly approach typical of the 'new historicism,' one of the schools of postmodernist literary criticism, the author uses written material from a wide variety of genres, discussing equally high and low culture, literature for children and for adults, and works of fiction and nonfiction....[Zantop] has read an impressive number of texts, ranging from the fairly well known, such as Kleist's Die Verlobung in St. Domingo, to the extremely obscure. There are a number of interesting chapters on the contents of these works.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822319689
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Series: Post-Contemporary Interventions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

At the time of her death, Susanne Zantop was Professor of German and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of German Studies at Dartmouth College.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Armchair Conquistadors; or, The Quest for "New Germany" 17
1 Tiranos animales o alemanes: Germans and the "Conquest" 18
2 A Conquest of the Intellect 31
II Colonizing Theory: Gender, Race, and the Search for a National Identity 43
3 Gendering the "Conquest" 46
4 Racializing the Colony 66
5 Patagons and Germans 81
III Colonial Families; or, Displacing the Colonizers 99
6 Fathers and Sons: Donnerstag and Freitag, Campe and Krusoe 102
7 Husbands and Wives: Colonialism Domesticated 121
8 Betrothal and Divorce; or, Revolution in the House 141
IV Virgin Islands, Teuton Conquerors 163
9 The German Columbus 166
10 The Second Discovery 173
11 Colonial Fantasies Revisited 191
Epilogue: Vitzliputzli's Revenge 202
Notes 211
Bibliography 263
Index 287
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