Provincial Modernity: Local Culture and Liberal Politics in Fin-de-Sihcle Hamburg

Provincial Modernity: Local Culture and Liberal Politics in Fin-de-Sihcle Hamburg

by Jennifer Jenkins
     
 
A history of the making of public culture in Imperial Germany, Provincial Modernity challenges traditional accounts of the rise and fall of German liberalism and the meaning given to the "cultural work" of the German middle classes. With an interdisciplinary approach that ranges from political history to modernist art and architecture, Jennifer Jenkins explores the

Overview

A history of the making of public culture in Imperial Germany, Provincial Modernity challenges traditional accounts of the rise and fall of German liberalism and the meaning given to the "cultural work" of the German middle classes. With an interdisciplinary approach that ranges from political history to modernist art and architecture, Jennifer Jenkins explores the role that local tradition, memory, history, culture, and environment played in nineteenth-century conceptions of citizenship and community in Hamburg. Eighteen black-and-white illustrations and one color illustration enhance her portrait of the city in question.Drawing on a wide range of sources, Jenkins focuses on the city's cultural institutions, particularly the Hamburg Art Museum and its director, Alfred Lichtwark, who inspired a citywide movement of political and cultural reform. Lichtwark, who became one of Imperial Germany's most important cultural politicians, worked with the city's elites and its civic associations, both middle and working class. Together, they promoted "aesthetic education" in the interest of forging a liberal society. Lichtwark and the movement he inspired saw the educated middle classes as the custodians of national culture, believed education and civic morality to be vehicles for the creation of modern citizens, and argued that vital regional identities were essential to the making of a liberal national community. In so doing, they defined and promoted a distinctive northern German form of modernist culture in art and architecture.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is well-written and solidly grounded in the city's archives and memoirs. . . This study offers several contributions to German imperial historiography, in particular a nuanced cultural understanding of Heimat and an alternative view of civic liberalism."—Katherine B. Aaslestad, West Virginia University, H-Net Reviews, July 2003.

"Jenkins's book offers a handy overview of key aspects within society and politics during the period. . . . Jenkins interweaves a history of Hamburg's Art Museum and Art Association with an analysis of how political structures and participation were reshaped under the pressure of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). This is a sophisticated discussion, an important contribution to social-cultural history. . . . In examining the educational programs Lichtwark developed in the museum, Jenkins offers a wide survey of both middle and working-class movements in this area, drawing on the work of Patrick Joyce to make interesting parallels with English developments."—William Weber, California State University, Long Beach, American Historical Review, October 2004

"Jenkins does a wonderful job of capturing the visions of cultural reformers, museum directors, teachers, architects, artists, and others who sought to transform Hamburg and its image around the turn of the century. She has a talent for describing their efforts and showing how their shifting sense of place motivated, and was reinforced by, their achievements."—H. Glenn Penny, Central European History, vol. 37 no. 3

"Jennifer Jenkin's Provincial Modernity. . . embeds Lichtwark and his project. . . deeply in the social and political history of Hamburg. . . . Jenkins shows that the divisions within the world of Hamburg's patrons of culture were closely intermeshed with the divisions that opened up within Hamburg's political world as the mercantile elite was squeezed between the loss of autonomy to the growing central power of the Reich administration, on the one hand, and the massive growth of the local labor movement, on the other. . . . Jenkins's impressive book . . . shows in absorbing and illuminating detail how central culture life was to the public sphere."—Richard J. Evans, Journal of Modern History, 1 March 2005

"With Provincial Modernity Jennifer Jenkins has written an important and rich contribution to the growing American scholarly literature on the city-state of Hamburg. Her path-breaking analysis of Hamburg's public culture between 1880 and 1914 focuses on precisely those aspects of the public sphere that traditional political narratives have missed."—Peter Hohendahl, Cornell University

"Provincial Modernity is a superb book . Jennifer Jenkins touches on innumerable topics, including memory, preservation, Heimat activism, and museum building. No other work gathers all these topics together in one place, and none brings them to bear so effectively on the total life of a single city."—Celia Applegate, University of Rochester

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801440250
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2002
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

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