Johannes Scherr: Mediating Culture in the German Nineteenth Century [Hardback]

Andrew Cusack(Author)

ISBN: 9781640140578 | Published by: Camden House | Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture | Volume: 221 | Year of Publication: 2021 | 204p, H9 x W6, 1 b/w. 2 line.
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Johannes Scherr


The German nineteenth century saw a boom in publishing and reading that created opportunities not only for Dichter, creators of great literature, but also for Schriftsteller, authors of the second rank. Among the latter were cultural mediators who helped readers negotiate the ever-expanding galaxy of print. Few achieved greater prominence than Johannes Scherr, whose remarkable career as a critic, anthologist, and historian of German and world literature began in the turbulent Vormärz era and continued during years of exile in the unlikely setting of the Zurich Polytechnic. He wrote from the vantage point of Switzerland, but his books were published in Germany, where his polemical style found favor.
Andrew Cusack's study traces the process of Scherr's literary socialization as mediator in the "contact zone" formed by the Kingdom of Württemberg and Switzerland, whose liberal project of Volksbildung inspired him. It considers how his liminal position between nations and between the humanities and the sciences led him to develop a form of historical authorship for the increasingly globalized nineteenth century. The book considers Scherr's engagement with the totalizing paradigms of cultural history and world literature and sets his pessimistic worldview in the context of the materialism and violent political agitation that threatened democratic values in Switzerland and elsewhere.

Table of Contents

Note on Translations and the Use of German Texts
Introduction: The Success and Failure of Johannes Scherr
Scherr's Liminality: Between Nations and Academic Cultures
The Cultural Historian as Mediator
Worlding German Literature
Weltschmerz and Pessimism-Scherr's Old-Age Style
Conclusion: Where Next for Scherr?
Appendix: Overview of Essays in the Menschliche Tragikomödie

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