Friederike Helene Unger
Michelle Stott James and Rob McFarland
The following collection of texts has been edited by Alec Down as a companion to our anthology of articles titled Sophie Discovers Amerika: German-Speaking Women Write the New World (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2014). Our anthology of articles takes on a fascinating corpus of literature: in their explorations of the Americas over the past 300 years, German-speaking women have written poetry, novels, screenplays, dramas, erotica, and scientific treatises about many different places in the New World, from Brazil to California, from Canada and Mexico to Argentina.
For obvious reasons, we were not able to include the original primary texts in our anthology. In this literary companion, Alec Down has collected many full-text electronic versions of that are treated in our anthology. In this way, readers can easily have access to long-out-of-print texts that are otherwise inaccessible in distant archives.
We hope you enjoy the texts, and we encourage you not only to read about them, but to research them and write about them. In this way, we can put these texts back into the broader discourses of travel literature, colonialism, gender, family and the reception of America in European literature.
We thank Alec Down for his hard work and diligence, and wish him well on his further academic career.
Rob McFarland Michelle Stott James
Contents of this work include:
1. Die Auswanderer nach Brasilien, Amalia Schoppe
2. Die Lieder der Mormonin, Sidonie Grünwald-Zerkovitz
3. Kolonistenvolk, Gabriele Reuter
4. Im Goldlande Kalifornien, Sophie Wörrishöffer
5. Aus vergangenen Tagen, Clara Berens
6. Der Amerikaner, Gabriele Reuter
7. Kultur im Werden, Alice Salomon
8. Mit Karl May durch Amerika, Klara May
9. Lebensbeschreibung der Wittwe des Obrist Florian Engel, Regula Engel
With a pressing need for an anthology of women writers in the field of German literature, where women authors have been consistently excluded from the canon (Blackwell 1990), I have selected fifteen texts, which are grammatically and linguistically appropriate for third-year level German classes. I have assessed the selected texts based on their literary quality, the views and ideals depicted and the educational and cultural value that text may have for the student. I have selected a wide range of texts, including short story prose, poetry, dialogued plays, letters and essays, thus providing the reader with an assortment of different literary writing styles of the time.
Lisa Ann Jackson Thomson
In European libraries, students and professors discover works by largely forgotten German women. Then they give the works an audience the authors never imagined. The story and background of Sophie: A Digital library of Works by German-Speaking Women.
Elsa Bernstein (1866-1949) was a successful playwright at the turn of the last century whose works Wir Drei (The Three of Us, 1892), Dammerung (Twilight, 1893) and Maria Arndt (1908) are generally categorized as Naturalist dramas. Of those dramas, Dammerung was the most successful and received critical praise after its performance at the Freie Bühne Berlin, where, under the directorship of Otto Brahms German audiences were introduced to dramas by Ibsen, Hauptmann , and Holz Schlg to name a few of the best-known Naturalist dramatists. My approach to Bernstein's dramas and, for the purpose of this paper, in particular to Dämmerung, from an aesthetic-poetological perspective. This means that I read the drama in the context of the dominant Naturalist aesthetic and programmatic discourse as as put forth by a number of male authors in a number of literary journals of the period (such as Die Gesellschaft, Durch! or Freie Biihne). Against the background of this aesthetic discourse, Dammerung acquires a new dimension: it becomes an avenue for Elsa Bernstein to partake in the Naturalist aesthetic discourse via the genre of the drama.
Looking at German girls and women in the eighteenth and even the nineteenth century, we see that most of them received very little formal education. Reading and writing and a basic, broad education were typical. In the higher social classes, girls learned conversational French, social dancing, and enough piano and voice to accompany or sing at parties. Young women were trained to become wives and mothers. For the lower-to middle-class women this meant learning household management and the raising of children, although lower-class women did it all themselves, whereas middle-class women delegated some of the work to servants and oversaw the general going-on in the household. Upper-class women left the house and children to the servants; they were mainly to learn how to entertain. Of course, there were always people with progressive ideas about women's education and about what it means to be educated and why it is important. These people (gradually) changed public opinion about what is acceptable learning for women and made possible my education, this course on women's literature, and this paper. I would like to investigate three reasons why women deserve a good education, drawing examples from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary works by German women.
This story, Die Brunnengäste, was actually an intriguing, entertaining read. I read in anticipation along with the characters who waited to discover the reason for Malwina and Adelbert's secret marriage. Although the resolution of the story didn't match the action-packed movie "thrillers" of today, it satisfied me and was believable. Since I enjoyed the story, there are several things that I can think to write about. As I began the story, Malwina seemed a little like Jutta in Jenseits der Mauer, in the descriptions by others. As it progressed, I found less correlation between the two. I would like to write about the character of Malwina as the female heroine.
Rahel Levin Varnhagen: Influence of a Jewess on German Romanticism. Life is not always a box of chocolates, especially if one is part of a marginalized race, religion or gender. Since all three apply to Rahel Levin Varnhagen, one can easily imply that she did not live an easy life. She was raised as a Jewess in a time when Jews were welcome in society but not yet fully integrated into it. As a woman she was limited to a particular lifestyle as well, and yet she took advantage of her surroundings to make a place for herself in the formation of German Romanticism. Due to her self-education emphasizing enlightenment thinking, her non-partiality and the salons she hosted, Rahel Varnhagen proved to be an essential element of the German romantic movement in Berlin.
Michelle Stott James
The female-authored stories collected in this anthology originated during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time that witnessed some of the most significant changes ever experienced in European society: the rise of industrialism and the decline of the agrarian state; the decline of the aristocracy; a growing awareness of the plight of the underclasses; the new ideas of thinkers such as Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud, whose theories revolutionized the way humans understood themselves and their relationship to their environment; the beginnings of the Women's Movement and the accompanying gains in mobility, political rights, and educational and professional opportunities for women; the advent of the steam engine, electricity, the telephone, and other such far-reaching improvements in technology.
Written primarily between 1850 and 1907, these narratives are the fruit of this period of tension and change; thus, they reflect and react to the thought, conventions, and attitudes of the time, in many cases powerfully depicting the birth struggles of a new way of being.
The anthology's stories are arranged by birth years of the respective authors, beginning with Malvida von Meysenbug (born in 1816) and ending with Sophie Hoechstetter (born in 1873).
Compiled by Sarah Reed from Garhard Lamprecht’s Deutsche Stummfilme. Berlin: Deutsche Kinemathek. 1969. Includes list of film title, year, and woman.
Within the Resources collection can be found access to secondary literature, bibliographic information and other tools for making effective and wide-ranging use of the Sophie collection.
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