Exposes German Romanticism’s entanglements of aesthetic philosophy with racialized models of humanity
Late Enlightenment philosophers and writers like Herder, Goethe, and Schiller broke with conventions of form and genre to prioritize an idealized, and racially coded, universality. Newly translated literatures from colonial contexts served as the basis for their evaluations of how to contribute to a distinctly “German” national literary tradition, one that valorized modernity and freedom and thus fortified crucial determinants of modern concepts of whiteness. Through close readings of both canonical and less-studied Romantic texts, Stephanie Galasso examines the intimately entwined histories of racialized subjectivity and aesthetic theory and shows how literary genre is both symptomatic and generative of the cultural violence that underpinned the colonial project.
Poetic expression and its generic conventions continue to exert pressure on the framing and reception of the stories that can be told about interpersonal and structural experiences of oppression. Genre, Race, and the Production of Subjectivity in German Romanticism explores how white subjectivity is guarded by symbolic and material forms of violence.
Introduction Chapter 1: Bettine von Arnim’s Impossible Vermählung Chapter 2: Sorrow as Aesthetic Object in Herder Chapter 3: Genre and Mourning in Karoline von Günderrode Chapter 4: Goethe and the Genre of Law Chapter 5: Hölderlin’s Odes and the Difficulty of Community Coda Notes Works Cited Index
STEPHANIE GALASSO is a visiting lecturer in German at Rutgers University.
“Galasso’s book takes an important step toward a more socially just practice of eighteenth-century German studies.” —Patricia Anne Simpson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
"Genre, Race, and the Production of Subjectivity in German Romanticism lucidly connects the racialized underpinnings of German aesthetic philosophy with the ideologically regulatory, Eurocentric forms of romantic genres. Stephanie Galasso reveals how translations from British colonial contexts—eyewitness accounts, journalistic, and literary texts —are tributaries into German romantic thought, and places women authors at the center of contemporary philosophical debates and practices around orientalism." —Catriona MacLeod, University of Chicago
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