Theses Doctoral

The Transatlantic Renewal of Textual Practices: Philology, Religion, and Classicism in Madame de Staël, Herder, and Emerson

Wagner, Ulrike

This dissertation demonstrates how the rise of historical criticism in Germany transformed practices of reading, writing, and public address in the related fields of classicism and biblical criticism in a transnational context. In the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, writers on both sides of the Atlantic rendered these practices foundational to the goals of self-formation, cultural and spiritual renewal, and educational reform. In this process, Germaine de Staël's De l'Allemagne (1814) played a key role in disseminating new historically informed modes of teaching, preaching, translating, and reconstructing secular and religious texts among Transcendentalists. I show that her cultural study epitomizes crucial characteristics and functions of the historically informed textual practices that Johann Gottfried Herder's works articulated paradigmatically in Germany and which we find refracted in reviews, addresses, essays, and translations by many Antebellum American scholars, especially Ralph Waldo Emerson.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Germanic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Muecke, Dorothea von
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 17, 2012