German Encounters with Modernity

Overview

The novels of imperial Berlin constitute a body of material of immense historical richness. Their importance as a historical source lies in the intricate connections their authors make between the individual lives of characters, a modernizing city, and a newly unified nation. Taken together, they constitute a significant piece in the complicated puzzle of how the society of imperial Germany, as it underwent the social and economic upheavals of modernization, transformed the rule...
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Overview

The novels of imperial Berlin constitute a body of material of immense historical richness. Their importance as a historical source lies in the intricate connections their authors make between the individual lives of characters, a modernizing city, and a newly unified nation. Taken together, they constitute a significant piece in the complicated puzzle of how the society of imperial Germany, as it underwent the social and economic upheavals of modernization, transformed the rule of traditional elites into new authoritarian forms.

Using individual works to illustrate the fictional treatment of a spectrum of problems of nationhood and modernity, Katherine Roper argues that Berlin novelists used their works to search for a German identity that spoke to modern realities and to envision a particularly German revolution that would bring genuine national greatness. As the young nation matured, however, these visions were impeded, the author suggests, by specific obstacles, including traumatic historical events, inherited cultural ideals, powerful mythologies, social anxieties, and political indifference. This book documents what Berlin novelists conceived as a struggle for Germany's soul—and traces the stages of its defeat.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573926027
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Series: German Studies
  • Pages: 278

Meet the Author

Katherine Roper is chair of the history department at Saint Mary's College of California. Her research interest focus on the historical analysis of imaginative literature of modern Germany, extending from the mid-nineteenth century to the postwar period.
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