Accommodating the Nation: Hospitality and Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century German Literature
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This dissertation investigates the ways nineteenth-century German literature imagines nationality by examining metaphors and structures of hospitality. This examination is twofold: it takes as its subject hospitality narratives and narrative hospitality. By hospitality narratives, I mean the semantic aspect of texts that figure the hospitable gathering as a metaphor for the national community. By narrative hospitality, I mean that the literary texts perform hospitality on the textual level by taking on the characteristics of hosts, guests, and the spaces they assemble. The first three chapters examine how entertainment, taste, and ritual both unite and estrange members of a national community in Goethe's <italic>Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten</italic>, E.T.A. Hoffmann's "Der unheimliche Gast," Clemens Brentano's <italic>Die mehreren Wehmüller</italic>, Achim von Arnim's <italic>Isabella von Ägypten</italic>, Heinrich Heine's <italic>Deutschland: Ein Wintermärchen</italic>, and Adalbert Stifter's "Der Kuß von Sentze." The fourth and fifth chapters argue that the figures of the hostess, the host, and the guest in Louise von François's "Der Posten der Frau," Eugenie Marlitt's <italic>Im Hause des Kommerzienrates</italic>, Theodor Storm's <italic>Der Schimmelreiter</italic>, and Theodor Fontane's <italic>Der Stechlin</italic> function as providers, recipients, and transmitters of narratives that potentially unite the members of an internally fragmented nation. Taken together, the texts function as sites where the idea of the German national community is both enacted and critiqued; they furnish a space where nationality as a category of belonging is at once welcomed and challenged.
- German