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Transatlantic Crossings and Transformations

German-American Cultural Transfer from the 18th to the End of the 19th Century


Kurt Mueller-Vollmer

This volume attempts for the first time a comprehensive view of the momentous process of German-American cultural transfer during the 18 th and 19 th centuries, which played an important part in the formation of an American national and cultural identity, a process to which the New England Transcendentalists contributed some of the decisive ingredients, but which has largely escaped the attention of German and American scholarship. In each chapter a specific problem is treated systematically from a clearly defined perspective, deficiencies of existing translation theories are exposed, so that in the concluding chapters 13 and 14 (with an unpublished memorandum by Alexander von Humboldt) a cohesive view of the entire process emerges. A comprehensive bibliography will facilitate further scholarly pursuits.
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If the real history of American Literature was and still is acted out in an international context, its German-American component proves to be of primary importance. The studies assembled in this volume are the result of my long-standing evolving interest in the process of German-American cultural transfer. In the “Introduction” the course and the progress of these investigations and their concurrent methodology will be explicated and laid out. Chapters 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 13, –now revised or enlarged and reprinted with permission – have appeared previously in the volume The Internationality of National Literatures in Either America: Transfer and Transformation Vol. 1/2 British America and the United States 1770s–1850s, Armin Paul Frank, Kurt Mueller-Vollmer, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2000. Chapter 8 (used with permission) first appeared in Kulturelle Grenzziehungen im Spiegel der Literaturen: Nationalismus, Regionalismus, Fundamentalismus, edited by Horst Turk, Brigitte Schultze und Roberto Simanowski, Internationalität nationaler Literaturen, Serie B: Europäische Literaturen und internationale Prozesse, edited by Horst Turk und Fritz Paul, Bd. 1, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 1998. Chapter 3, „Urwälder und Prärien machen keine Nationalliteratur: Übersetzungen aus dem Deutschen in den Vereinigten Staaten 1820–50, Versuch einer historischen Topographie,“ used with permission, first appeared in Übersetzen, Verstehen, Brückenbauen, edited by Armin Paul Frank et. al., Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1993. Chapter 5, used with permission, was published first in Übersetzung als kultureller Prozess: Rezeption, Projektion und Konstruktion des Fremden, edited by Beata Hammerschmid and Hermann Krapoth, Göttinger...

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