ABOUT THIS BOOK
Although German Americans number almost 43 million and are the largest ethnic group in the United States, scholars of American literature have paid little attention to this influential and ethnically diverse cultural group. In a work of unparalleled depth and range, Waldemar Zacharasiewicz explores the cultural and historical background of the varied images of Germany and Germans throughout the past two centuries. Using an interdisciplinary approach known as comparative imagology, which borrows from social psychology and cultural anthropology, Zacharasiewicz samples a broad spectrum of original sources, including literary works, letters, diaries, autobiographical accounts, travelogues, newspaper reports, films, and even cartoons and political caricatures.
Starting with the notion of Germany as the ideal site for academic study and travel in the nineteenth century and concluding with the twentieth-century image of Germany as an aggressive country, this innovative work examines the ever-changing image of Germans and Germany in the writings of Louisa May Alcott, Samuel Clemens, Henry James, William James, George Santayana, W. E. B. Du Bois, John Dewey, H. L. Mencken, Katherine Anne Porter, Kay Boyle, Thomas Wolfe, Upton Sinclair, Gertrude Stein, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, William Styron, Walker Percy, and John Hawkes, among others.