Literature and the Cult of Personality

Essays on Goethe and His Influence



Table of contents
Literature and the Cult of Personality
Essays on Goethe and His Influence
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About the book

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The construction of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as an Anglo-American sage and literary icon was the product of a cult of personality that lay at the center of nineteenth-century cultural politics. A reconstruction of the culture wars fought over Goethe’s authority, a previously hidden chapter in the intellectual history of the period ranging from the late eighteenth century to the threshold of Modernism, is the focus of Literature and the Cult of Personality. Marginal as well as canonical writers and critics figured prominently in this process, and Literature and the Cult of Personality offers insight into the mediation activities of Mary Wollstonecraft, Henry Crabb Robinson, the canonical Romantic poets, Thomas Carlyle, Margaret Fuller, George Eliot, Matthew Arnold, and others. For women writers and Jacobins, Scots, and Americans, translating Goethe served as an empowering cultural platform that challenges the myth of the self-sufficiency of British literature. Reviewing and translating German authors provided a means of gaining literary enfranchisement and offered a paradigm of literary development according to which 're-writers' become original writers through an apprenticeship of translation and reviewing. In the diverse and fascinating body of critical writing examined in this book, textual exegesis plays an unexpectedly minor role; in its place, a full-blown cult of personality emerges along with a blueprint for the ideology of hero-worship that is more fully mapped out in the cultural and political life of twentieth-century Europe.
The author

About the author

Gregory Maertz (Ph.D., Harvard University) is a Professor of English at St. John's University in New York City. He has published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and visual culture. Funding for his research has been awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the National Humanities Center, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.
Reviews

Reviews

“[Gregory Maertz' book is] characterized by a deep knowledge of both the literary scene in Germany and the critical debates in the Anglophone world. The book appeals to students and scholars of German and Comparative Literature, but also to anybody interested in questions of cultural transfer.”—Universitäts-Professor Mag. Dr. Wynfrid Kriegleder, University of Vienna, Austria

“Literature and the Cult of Personality, wide ranging and comparative in scope, brilliantly examines the strong impact of Goethe—his force as intellect, writer, and modern personality—on British literature and culture. Offering insight after insight, Maertz masterfully outlines how the Goethezeit occurred in Great Britain, too, and that Goethe's presence is part of the late Enlightenment and Romantic era everywhere.”—James Engell, Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University

“Maertz’s book carefully documents what led to this heroic image of Goethe during the British Romantic period in addition to tracking down the afterlife of Goethe in New England and in the works of George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans, 1819–80) and George Saintsbury (1845–1933). Because of its wide scope, Literature and the Cult of Personality is a comprehensive survey of the cultural transfer between the German-speaking states (Germany was unified only in 1871) and Britain. […] It should be emphasized that Literature and the Cult of Personality provides much more than a summary of Goethe’s reception in Britain and America. For example, chapter 4 is titled ‘Resistance and Concealment: Goethe and the Canonical British Poets,’ but it also contains a long and interesting discussion of Coleridge’s translation of Schiller’s Wallenstein (1799, trans. 1800).”— European Romantic Review, August 2018
Additional Information

Additional Information

Delivery time 2-3 Tage / 2-3 days
Author Gregory Maertz
Number of pages 254
Language English
Publication date Apr 30, 2017
Weight (kg) 0.3300
ISBN-13 9783838209814