GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW: Volume XXIX, Number 1 (February 2006)
    Wissenspoesie und Historie: Rankes Literaturgeschichte der Renaissance als
    Rekonfiguration ästhetischer Geschichtsphilosophie

    Philipp Müller
    Humboldt Universität Berlin

    An examination of the little-known intellectual exchange between Leopold von Ranke and the philosopher and Schleiermacher-student Heinrich Ritter reveals very different epistemological assumptions for Ranke's historical writing than the positivistic insistence on objective facts generally ascribed to the "father of modern historiography." Instead he assumed that the web of concrete past events reflects a creative force, which the historian must discover and comprehend poetically. His literary history of the Renaissance treats its subject matter as a literary absolute, reconfiguring his aesthetic philosophy of history. His conceptions are thus ironically close to his critics from the New Historicism.
    The Impact of Audre Lorde's Politics and Poetics on Afro-German Women Writers

    Jennifer Michaels
    Grinnell College

    Helga Emde stresses that the African American poet Audre Lorde "was a touchstone for most black German women in their struggle and political development." Lorde became a mentor to Afro-German women writers. She encouraged them to define their identity, played a key role in the development of the Afro-German community, and inspired May Ayim, Helga Emde, Ika Hügel-Marshall, and others to write. Lorde's poetics and political thinking, particularly her affirmation of difference, her focus on building bridges between people of color worldwide, and her emphasis on the connections between life, politics, and art, found resonance with them and shaped their works.
    "Be Proud and Firm, Citizens of Austria!" Patriotism and Masculinity in Texts of the "Political Romantics" Written during Austria's Anti-Napoleonic Wars

    Karen Hagemann
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    With images of patriotism and masculinity the "political romantics," who worked for the government before and during the Austrian "War of Liberation" of 1809, tried to mobilize men for the militia system, which the government had created in 1808 to raise a "people's army" against Napoleonic France. Romanticist writers like Friedrich Schlegel were among the most active producers of patriotic propaganda in this period. They extolled love of fatherland and national pride not only as official agents for the state, but also in their personal writings. Patriotic devotion and martial masculinity thus became the defining elements of their male self-image.
    The Danzig Soap Case: Facts and Legends around "Professor Spanner" and the Danzig Anatomic Institute 1944-1945

    Joachim Neander
    Kraków (Poland)

    The story of "Professor Spanner's Soap Factory"-the alleged semi-industrial manufacturing of soap from the bodies of concentration camp inmates at the Danzig Anatomic Institute-belongs to the cycle of myths and legends that have grown up around the Holocaust. Its "core of truth" lies in the fact that, in the process of making anatomic preparations, a soapy grease originates as an inevitable by-product, and that this grease was used for cleaning purposes within the institute during the last months of the war. The alleged crime against humanity turns out to have been nothing but a tasteless misdemeanor. Moreover, no Jewish corpses were involved. Reducing the Danzig Soap case, inflated by postwar propaganda to a "prime example of Nazi German crimes," to its real dimensions, does not make the list of the Nazi crimes significantly shorter, but more trustworthy.
    Parteischule oder Dichterschmiede? The Institut für Literatur "Johannes R. Becher" from Its Founding to Its Abwicklung

    David Clarke
    University of Bath

    The Institut für Literatur "Johannes R. Becher" was the GDR's academy for socialist writers, and its alumni included some of East Germany's major authors. Following the collapse of East German socialism, the Institute was criticized as a mere instrument of SED cultural policy. Yet this small institution was able to provide young writers with relative, if fragile, freedom, which was always dependent upon the political climate of the times. The survival strategies developed by the Institute under state socialism nevertheless proved to be a handicap as it fought for survival in the wake of German unification.
    The alte Jungfer as New Deviant:
    Representation, Sex, and the Single Woman in Imperial Germany

    Catherine Dollard
    Denison University

    The iconic figure of the alte Jungfer gained new attributes in the period of the Kaiserreich. The developments of the industrial era transformed archaic anxieties about the old maid into contemporary threats to the greater social order, while the emerging field of Sexualwissenschaft offered new insights into the category of Altjungfertum by affirming the existence and importance of the female sex drive. Spinsters of imperial Germany were labeled as both economically burdensome and sexually dysfunctional. Industrial capitalism and the study of sexuality provided fresh ground for condemnation of unwed women.
    The Conversions of Dorothea Mendelssohn: Conviction or Convenience?

    Susanne Hillman
    University of California San Diego

    Were the conversions of Dorothea Mendelssohn-Veit-Schlegel motivated by genuine conviction or by concerns of mere convenience? Scholars have tended to emphasize the essentially pragmatic considerations behind the religious conversions of prominent German-Jewish salon women in Old Regime Berlin. This view underestimates the irresistible attraction of early Romanticism that drew individuals like Dorothea to Christianity. This article explores the religious experience of Dorothea Mendelssohn in all its facets, social, aesthetic, and psychological. It attempts to show that the mechanisms of acculturation available to Jewish Germans went beyond Hannah Arendt's pariah-or-parvenu dilemma and included the possibility of a genuine spiritual transformation.
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