In the mid-1880s, the Realist author and Anglophile Theodor Fontane observed: ‘nowhere is so much translation done as in Germany.’ Characterizing Germany as a special locus of literary translation and reception, Fontane contests a prejudice which has since become a significant problem for nineteenth-century German studies, namely the frequent assessment of the epoch as narrowly national. The present collection of essays by thirteen eminent literary scholars and historians is intended to correct this prejudice: it demonstrates that literary life and production in the nineteenth century were governed by complex networks of intercultural exchange, influence and translation, and it does justice to this complexity through its range of complementary critical approaches, focussing on Fontane, Anglo-German relations, translation, and European reception. In so doing, this book not only offers a nuanced appreciation of literary production and reception in the nineteenth century, but also demonstrates the continued relevance of that period for Germanists today.
Ritchie Robertson is Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature and Fellow of The Queen’s College, the University of Oxford.
Michael White is a lecturer in the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews.