Spanning the worlds of literature and the history profession, the Prussian novelist and historian Gustav Freytag (1816-95) was influential in shaping opinion for his generation of liberals. Best known as the author of the popular novel
Soll und Haben (1855), Freytag represented the views of a generation of National Liberals in the debate over Jewish assimilation, political reform in Prussia, and German unification. This new study places Freytag in his proper political and social context as a member of an elite of academic historians and liberal publicists who promoted German unification. Alongside colleagues like Theodor Mommsen and Heinrich von Treitschke, Freytag worked to create a progressive, Prussian historical myth for the new Germany. Although the author addresses Freytag’s well-earned reputation for anti-Jewish prejudice, the primary focus of the work is to explore the mental world of a significant, but often overlooked, German historian. Focusing upon Gustav Freytag as a representative figure, this book explores the contribution of the German history profession to German liberalism and political culture.