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Heroes and Heroism in German Culture

As Brecht's Galileo observed, a country which needs heroes is unfortunate indeed - words which suggest that a society's need for heroes is always a function of its own shortcomings. By examining the role that heroes and heroism have played in German literature and culture over the past two centuries, the essays in this volume illuminate and contour both a flawed German society in need of heroes and the flawed but essential heroes brought forth by that society. Beginning in the era of the anti-Napoleonic Wars of Liberation, advancing to the challenging situation Germany faced at the end of World War II, and concluding with the current reemergence of a unified Germany after almost half a century of division, this volume broadens our understanding of the inadequacies and breakdowns of German society. In addition to analyses of heroism in German culture during the last two centuries, this volume contains the first major essays in English on cultural representations of disability in German culture and on AIDS in German literature, as well as two essays, on the scholarly accomplishments of Jost Hermand, to whom all of the essays in the volume are dedicated.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations. Preface. Acknowledgments. Jost HERMAND: Victory for the Just Cause! Ludwig Ferdinand Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Cacilia Tschudi as a Valkyrie (1813). Kirsten BELGUM: Tracking the Liberal Hero in the Nineteenth Century. Response by Gabrielle Bersier. Peter MORRIS-KEITEL: Of No Commercial Value. The Green Hero Curt Grottewitz (1866-1905). Response by Carolyn O. Becker. Carol POORE: From Problem Child to Human Being: Positive Representations of People with Physical Disabilities in Germany. Response by Robert C. Holub. Stephen BROCKMANN: Heroes of the Zero Hour. Response by Alexa Larson-Thorisch. Janet SWAFFAR: Heroes and Reunification: The Resistance of Cultural Memory from Two Germanies. Response by Helen Fehervary. Karen R. ACHBERGER: "Ein Sultan, ein Wilder, ein Halbgott, ein Prinz": The Romantic Hero in Ingeborg Bachmann's Works of the 1960s. Response by Alan Lareau. James W. JONES: Whose Heroes? German AIDS Literature by Gay Men. Response by James D. Young. Evelyn TORTON BECK: Look Back in Wonder: A Reminiscence. Frank TROMMLER: Jost Hermand or the Ways of Shaping a Discipline. Jost Hermand's Ph.D Students and Their Dissertation Topics.


"This collection of insightful articles and carefully crafted responses form a fitting tribute to a versatile and influential scholar." in: Gegenwartsliteratur, Vol. 4, Fall 2005 "The essays and thoughtful responses collected here represent both a fitting tribute to a scholar [...] as well as an insightful discussion of the hopes, aims, anxieties, flaws, and fantasies of modern German society." in: Colloquia Germanica, 35, 2002, pp.342-344

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