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Anti-Americanism in the German Novel 1841-1862

Series:

Guy T. Hollyday

When the British colonies became a separate state, positive myths of freedom, idyllic life in the natural wilds and noble savages dominated European thinking about the new country. By the middle of the nineteenth century, in the German novel, these myths were displaced by negative, factual accounts of the experiences of German immigrants. These accounts gave rise to negative stereotypes of evil urban centers, the dangerous Wild West and the uncouth, immoral, violent, xenophobic Americans. This study describes the themes, motifs and caricatures in the German novel about America in the 1840's and 1850's. The author discussed the reasons for the overwhelmingly negative character of the picture, and formulates a definition of Anti-Americanism in the novel as distinguished from factual, negative reporting.