Mountains and the German Mind: Translations from Gessner to Messner, 1541-2009 [Hardback]

Sean Ireton(Editor); Caroline Schaumann(Editor)

ISBN: 9781640140479 | Published by: Camden House | Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture | Volume: Volume 212 | Year of Publication: 2020 | 370p, H9 x W6, 27 black and white
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Mountains and the German Mind


Mountains have occupied a central place in German, Swiss, and Austrian intellectual culture for centuries. This volume offers the first scholarly English translations of thirteen key texts from the Germanophone tradition of engagement with mountains. The selected texts span over 450 years, ranging from the early modern period to the postmodern era, and encompass several discursive modes of the mountain experience including geographical descriptions, philosophical meditations, aesthetic deliberations, and autobiographical climbing narratives. Well-known figures covered in this translational sourcebook include Conrad Gessner, Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, G.W.F. Hegel, Alexander von Humboldt, Georg Simmel, Leni Riefenstahl, and Reinhold Messner. Each text is accompanied by a critical introduction that places the translated text within a broader cultural context. The dual translational-interpretational approach offered in this volume is intended to stimulate new international and interdisciplinary dialogue on the cultural history of mountains and mountaineering.

Contributors: Paul Buchholz, Sean Franzel, Gundolf Graml, Kamaal Haque, Harald Höbusch, Dan Hooley, Sean Ireton, Jennifer Jenkins, Jens Klenner, Martina Kopf, Seth Peabody, Caroline Schaumann, Christoph Weber, Wilfried Wilms.

Sean Ireton (University of Missouri) and Caroline Schaumann (Emory University) are also the editors of Heights of Reflection: Mountains in the German Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century (2012).

Table of Contents

The Changing Mountain Discourses - a Germanphone Perspective - Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann
Conrad Gessner, "Letter to Jacob Vogel on the Admiration of Mountains" (1541) and "Description of Mount Fractus, Commonly Called Mount Pilate" (1555) - Dan Hooley
Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, The Natural History of Switzerland (1716) - Excerpts - Jennifer Jenkins
Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, The Natural History of Switzerland (1716) - Excerpts - Christoph Weber
Sophie von la Roche, Diary of a Journey Through Switzerland (1787) - Excerpts - Martina Kopf
G.W.F. Hegel, Travel Diary Through the Bernese Alps (1796) - Sean Franzel
Alexander von Humboldt, Failed Ascents of Antisana and Chimborazo - Two Excerpts from Travel Diaries (1802) - Caroline Schaumann
Hermann von Barth, From the Northern Limestone Alps (1874) - Excerpts - Sean Ireton
Georg Simmel, "Alpine Journeys" (1895) and "On the Aesthetics of the Alps" (1911) - Jens Klenner
Eduard Pichl, "Autobiographical Sketch" (1914) and "The Alpine Association and German Purity" (1923) - Wilfried Wilms
Leni Riefenstahl, Struggle in Snow and Ice (1933) - Excerpts - Seth Peabody
Arnold Fanck, He Directed Glaciers, Storms and Avalanches: A Film Pioneer Recounts (1973) - Excerpts - Kamaal Haque
Hans Ertl, My Wild Thirties (1982), Chapter 7: "The Film Gets Colorized - But the Himalaya Still Looks Bleak" - Harald Höbusch
Max Peintner, "The Dam" (1981) - Paul Buchholz
Reinhold Messner, Westwall: The Abyss Principle (2009) - Excerpts - Gundolf Graml
Works Cited

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