The image of Germany and the Germans in Erica Jong’s "Fear of Flying " and Walter Abish’s "How German Is It "

Examination Thesis, 2007

68 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Contents

1. Images of Germany and the Germans in American Literature from the Late 19th to the End of the 20th Century
1.1 National Images and Stereotypes in Literature
1.2 The Late 19th Century to the Turn of the 20th Century
1.3 The Country’s Changing Image through World War I and II
1.4 Postwar Germany through the Late 1990’s

2. The Depiction of Germany and the Germans in Walter Abish’s How German Is It
2.1 Displayed German Virtues and Characteristics
2.1.1 Obedience
2.1.2 Perfection and Thoroughness
2.1.3 Cleanliness and Punctuality
2.1.4 The Love of Nature
2.2 The Country’s Cultural Heritage and Past
2.2.1 ‘A Nation of Poets and Thinkers’
2.2.2 Castles, Classical Music and Art
2.2.3 National Socialism and the Holocaust
2.3 The Image of the ‘New Germany’
2.3.1 Brumholdstein and the People of the ‘New Germany’
2.3.2 Technology and Cars
2.3.3 Lifestyle and Food

3. The Depiction of Germany and the Germans in Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying
3.1 Displayed German Virtues and Characteristics
3.1.1 Cleanliness
3.1.2 The German Woman
3.1.3 Ugliness
3.2 The Country’s Cultural Heritage and Past
3.2.1 ‘Old Heidelberg’
3.2.2 Germany’s Dark Past: National Socialism and the Holocaust
3.3 The Images of Postwar Germany
3.3.1 German ‘Father Figures’
3.1.4 The German Countryside
3.3.3 Lifestyle and Food

4. The Quest for Identity in How German Is It and Fear of Flying
4.1 How German Is It: The Discovery of ‘Germanness’?
4.2 Fear of Flying: Finding One’s Own Identity Abroad

5. Summary and Conclusion



During the last two centuries the American perception of Germany has periodically shifted as both countries have been rivals, friends, opponents and most recently allies. This has also been mirrored in the periodically changing American picture of Germany and the Germans, which over the years generated an abundance of stereotypes. While on the one hand, positive images have emerged such as the ‘naturally virtuous and scholarly German,’ there have been, on the other hand, numerous negative generalizations, for example, the ‘hard drinking and violent Teuton.’

These notions were often formed through hearsay, personal experiences and encounters with Germans at home and abroad, through literature and political-social relations between the United States and Germany. They are often persistently maintained, have resisted any revision and are frequently regarded as the standard of thought. The role of American literature in creating, sustaining and perpetuating images continues to be of particular importance and this needs to be examined if one wishes to understand how a wide range of long-lasting German stereotypes came into existence. The images of Germany and the Germans which are projected in the works of numerous American writers, including Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, Thomas Wolfe, Erica Jong and Walter Abish, have become core images found in travelogues, novels, poetry and short fiction.

This thesis surveys the images of Germany and the Germans in American literature from the late 19th to the end of the 20th century, and proceeds to focus on two selected works: Walter Abish’s How German is It (1980) and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying (1973). Abish’s novel is a natural choice for an endeavor of this nature as it is both an extensive and intensive exploration of images attributed to German identity. Jong’s novel, on the other hand, is an exploration of individual identity in a German setting and has been selected because of its enormous role in the relatively new field of women’s studies. The focus of attention in this thesis is however restricted to its representations of Germany and the Germans.

First, an introduction to national images and stereotypes in literature is given to facilitate the terminology for the later discussion. This is followed by a chronological overview of the images of Germany and the Germans in American literature from the late 19th to the end of the 20th century. The survey offers insight into the periodically changing perceptions of Germany and examines the extent to which the political relations between America and Germany and encounters with the ‘Other’ have influenced the American notion of Germany, and therefore the image of Germany in American literature. Thus, a wide range of literary works and historical information is included.

Second, the images of the German culture as depicted in Walter Abish’s How German is It and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying will be analyzed in chapter two and three. In this investigation, attention is particularly drawn to distinct virtues and characteristics, the country’s heritage and past as well as the depiction of postwar Germany. Walter Abish and Erica Jong also included images of Austria. Sharing a similar culture with Germany, these Austrian characteristics serve to emphasize German traits and therefore are included in this analysis.

Finally, it will be argued how far the confrontation with numerous heterostereotypes of Germany challenges the protagonists, Isadora Wing and Ulrich von Hargenau, to question their own identity. Ulrich’s quest for ‘Germanness’ in Abish’s novel How German Is It as well as Isadora’s search for her own identity in Germany in Jong’s novel Fear of Flying will be discussed.

Needless to say, this thesis will not concern itself with evaluating the factual appropriateness of the perceptions of Germany discussed here. As a piece of literary analysis, it confines itself strictly to the scope set by the authors under discussion.

1. Images of Germany and the Germans in American Literature from the Late 19th to the End of the 20th Century

Before providing an overview of the different images and stereotypes of Germany and the Germans in American literature from the late 19th to the end of the 20th century, it is essential to supply the necessary terminology for the later discussion.

1.1 National Images and Stereotypes in Literature

Numerous disciplines from anthropology to communications research have delved into the perceptions that nations share of each other. Thus, a wide range of different terminology, including ‘stereotype,’ ‘image,’ ‘cliché’ and ‘prejudice,’ has entered the discussion. Although various scholars have attempted to distinguish between the individual terms, it appeared to be impossible since all of them interlink.[1] However, the most frequently used terms within the investigation of the ‘Other’[2] in literature are ‘stereotypes’ and ‘images.’

Introduced by the American journalist Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), ‘stereotypes’ describe “pictures in one’s head.”[3] Referring to either positive or negative generalizations about a complex subject, such as the characteristics of a nation, stereotypes enable individuals to “simplify or systematize the abundance and complexity of the received information.”[4] Furthermore, ‘national stereotypes’ are subdivided into ‘autostereotypes’ which contain the ideas members of a nation share about their own character and ‘heterostereotypes’ which include the virtues and vices of other nations.[5] Thus,
national stereotypes are closely connected with the constant process of identification with one’s own nation and the urge for group identity.[6]

Originally used in psychology and public relations, ‘images’ have entered the field of imagology, a branch of comparative literary scholarship. An image refers to a popular thought that forms the basic concept of an object or idea. A ‘national image’ refers to the conception that one nation projects onto the other. It can be subdivided into ‘auto-images’ which characterize one’s own identity and ‘hetero-images’ which picture the ‘Other.’ Moreover, ‘national stereotypes’ and ‘national images’ are not to be confused with ‘national character.’ Contemporary imagology “rejects the notion of ‘national character’ as untenable”[7] since it is questionable whether such thing really exists.

Apart from the definitions a question remains of how to approach national images and stereotypes in literature. Aside from personal encounters with other nations and social-political relations between different countries, literature plays a major role in the formation of images, which is pointed out by Franz Karl Stanzel:

Opinions about foreigners originally founded in historical experiences of two nations are most likely to become long-lasting stereotypes when they enter literature, the most favorable ground for them to grow and flourish in.[8]

Images found within literary texts generally originate from personal experience or secondhand knowledge, which is why they cannot be examined for factuality.[9] However, as it is practiced by contemporary imagologists, images of the ‘Other’ in literature can be discussed according to their genesis and effects as well as aesthetic relevance. Furthermore, national stereotypes within literature always provide suggestions about the portrayed nation as well as of the country describing.[10]

In line with this imagological tenet, my thesis will focus on the origin of the displayed images of Germany and the Germans, and the effects they create within Walter Abish’s How German Is It and Erica Jong’s Fear Of Flying. Additionally, the following questions shall be considered: Do the novels include traditional stereotypes of the Germans? How are familiar images changed and broken? Since it is impossible to clearly distinguish between the terms ‘stereotype’ and ‘image’ they will be used interchangeably throughout this investigation.

1.2 The Late 19th Century to the Turn of the 20th Century

The late 19th century offered a primarily positive image of the German culture. To many American scholars and writers, Germany was a country full of inspiration and hence served as an ideal. The following issue of the American magazine The Nation (1866) displayed this admiration:

[The Germans are] the most learned, patient, industrious, civilized people on the face of the globe, which has attained the highest distinction in arts, in science, in arms, in literature, in everything […][11]

Indeed, educated Americans saw Germany as a “country both romantic and scholarly.”[12] In the novel Little Women (1868), Louisa May Alcott created the character of the German professor Friedrich Bhaer, a kind and sympathetic tutor, who is an image of German learning. Apart from a reasonable number of American tourists and writers, ‘the nation of thinkers and poets’ had drawn nearly 10,000 American students to study at German universities by the end of the 19th century.[13] There were various established exchange programs, for example, the one between Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Humboldt University in Berlin which facilitated American academic interests. Indeed, many American scholars such as the Harvard theologian Edward Everett and the Germanicist George Ticknor appreciated Germany as a most delightful place for their studies.[14] An extensive insight into the German university culture with all of its advantages is provided by Henry E. Dwight’s Travels in the North of Germany (1829). It included detailed descriptions of the distinguished libraries, the common academic spirit at the universities, and the achievements of numerous German scholars. Moreover, Dwight contrasted the well-established position of the German professors, their specializations, and salaries with the unsatisfying situation in New England.[15]

On January 18, 1871, the Kaiser announced the achievement of German unification, which was an important landmark in German history. Shortly before the formation of the German empire, Charles Goethe Baylor wrote the following verses in a poem called America to Germany:

All hail! O Bible Land

Grand ‘mid the nations stand

By God’s decree

For thru the Cloud that lowers

Deep ‘neath the blood pours

We see their cause as ours

Dear Germany.[16]

In these lines Baylor illustrated the American acceptance of Germany’s achievements and put emphasis on the countries’ common ambition: the quest for nationhood.[17]

At the same time, the first indications of a shifting image of German culture appeared. While scholarly admiration and popular kinship continued, the political relations between the United States and the emerging world power were fraught with uneasiness. The Americans took particular offense at the Prussian influence on the entire country, which promoted the German militarization, imperialistic politics and naval race during the last third of the 19th century. Due to his statements and behavior the Kaiser became a typical symbol of the nation’s aggression and autocracy.[18] James Kendall Hosmer’s The Giant in the Spiked Helmet (1871) offered a vivid illustration of the military presence within the German public. The country’s transformation into an ascending imperialistic power was also outlined in Francis Marion Crawford’s novel Greifenstein (1889). In connection with the stereotypical depiction of German university life and its customs, Crawford pointed out the correlation between duels and military victories which contributed to the rise of the German superpower.[19] A few decades later Crawford’s cousin read Greifenstein as an anticipation of the future:

Today this novel seems prophetic, it shows so clearly the influences that swept the German people into the World War. The Prussian Junker element, growing stronger and stronger, eventually conquered the philosophizing, music-loving South Germans and Bavarians.[20]

The later anti-German propaganda of World War I gave a similar account as it accused the Prussian character of having been one of the propelling powers for the country’s militaristic and imperialistic efforts.

While the growing alienation between the two countries gradually repressed the favorable American image of Germany, writers such as Charles Dudley Warner and Mark Twain, maintained an optimistic and positive picture. In Saunterings (1872) Dudley praised the German “simplicity, kindliness, and honesty” and pointed out their “universal courtesy and friendliness of manners.”[21] Similarly, Mark Twain’s humorous and entertaining travelogue A Tramp Abroad (1880) refrained from creating a negative image of Germany. Describing the Germans, Twain was affectionate for the nation whose “manners were as fine as their clothes” (11).[22] In comparison to other contemporary authors he neglected Germany’s political situation. Instead, A Tramp Abroad mirrored the author’s open-mindedness and sympathy for Germany conveyed in his depictions of German university life and student duels. In highlighting Heidelberg’s romantic beauty and praising its castle as a “fairy spectacle,” (20) Twain contributed to the establishment of the American legend of ‘Old Heidelberg.’

At the turn of the 20th century the changing political situation greatly overshadowed this charming image of Germany.[23] During the last pre-war years American perceptions deteriorated as Germany’s aspirations for imperialism in Latin America and the Pacific, as well as the “bellicosity and fickleness of William II.”[24] increased. At this time Germans were displayed as “‘arrogant’, ‘power-mad’, ‘militaristic’ and ‘imperialistic’, ‘fond of vainglory and conquest.’”[25] An account of this growing American animosity can be found in Henry Adams’ autobiography Education of Henry Adams (1907). Although Adams had greatly enjoyed the inspiring scholarly world of Germany, he later declared his contempt of the increasing militarism which led to the suppression of the country’s culture:

[…] the Germany he loved was the eighteenth-century which the Germans were ashamed of, and were destroying as fast as they could. Of the Germany to come, he knew nothing. Military Germany was his abhorrence.[26]

While the pre-war years presented a strong anti-German attitude within the ranks of American intellectuals, some journalists and critics such as Joseph Percival Pollard and H. L. Mencken did not want to accept this negative image of the country that they very much cherished. Therefore, these critics expressed their disapproval for the one-sided depiction of the modern German culture. In addition, they considered the ‘modern Germany’ as an escape for their own Victorian culture, where moral restrictions and prudery still existed and art lacked a certain vitality.[27] Pollard’s and Mencken’s admiration of the cultural scene mirrored the American respect of the German scholar and university education of the late 19th century.

Fascinated by the German theaters in Berlin, Munich and Vienna, Joseph P. Pollard wrote about the glamorous cultural scene of those cities, in which he found modern tendencies of naturalism and aestheticism. In his travelogue Vagabond Journeys: The Human Comedy at Home and Abroad (1911) Pollard presented a modern German counterculture which he hoped would influence that of the antiquated United States.[28] Rejecting a one-sided interpretation of Germany, his work entirely abstained from mentioning common images of obedience and censorship. Affiliating him with Pollard’s thinking, his friend H. L. Mencken, denounced the narrow, even xenophobic attitude towards Germany in his column “Free Lance” in The Baltimore Sun: “I am for the hellish Deutsche until hell freezes over.”[29] Despite the strong anti-German public opinion, Mencken still favored German imperialism and believed in an intact aristocracy.[30] As he translated Nietzsche, who he thought to be a spokesmen of the ‘new German spirit,’ Mencken noticed how narrow and provincial the American culture was. In one of his articles for The Baltimore Sun in 1913 he highlighted the “sharp common sense, enormous practicality [and] straightforwardness” of the ‘new Germany.’[31] Amazingly, Mencken was to maintain his high ideals of German culture even through the decades of the world wars.

1.3 The Country’s Changing Image through World War I and II

With the outbreak of war in 1914, most remnants of friendly stereotypes vanished and were quickly replaced by a new, abrasive image of “the Hun and Prussian soldier.”[32] Aggravated by American propaganda, the alienation between the two countries grew. As a result German-American discrimination increased, German language teaching was forbidden, and sauerkraut was renamed ‘victory cabbage.’[33] Americans were made to believe that Germany was not only the cause of the war, but also posed a great threat to world security. The following extract from the New York Times testified to the strong reversal of public opinion in the United States:

[…] the Germans had been transformed from a nation worthy of the world’s esteem and admiration into a people who stand apart from other nations, distrusted and feared, disturbers of the peace […] Their ideals have been abased and their intellectual development stifled, they have been bred away from the ‘high and noble things of life.’[34]

Witnessing this enormous American antipathy towards Germany, Henry Adams noted: “All the people who come to me are simply and flatly anti-

German and not pro-anything. Hatred of the German seems to be a ground on which all the world can stand.”[35]

Numerous authors were proponents of the typical propagandized stereotype of the ‘aggressive, warmongering picked helmet Prussian.’ Price Collier’s Germany and the Germans from an American Point of View (1914) and William Roscoe Thayer’s Germany vs. Civilization: Notes on the Atrocious War (1916) both describe the dominating Prussian influence in Germany’s transformation and denounce the Prussian’s striving for war.[36]

At the same time various intellectuals tried to understand the reasons for the war. In Egotism in German Philosophy (1916) George Santayana, a Harvard philosophy professor, explained the role that German philosophy had in the European catastrophe of the First World War. Referring to his own impressions gained during his stay in Germany, he argued:

[…] the subjectivity inherent in German idealism did not remain theoretical and academic, but was a dangerous principle which led to willfulness in conduct and in time found an inevitable outlet in international war.[37]

Without adequate consideration of the complexities and multiple forces that created a nurturing ground for the outbreak of the First World War, Santayana quickly turned his attention from effect to cause. Santayana conveyed how egotism is “a steady progression of German thought through Luther, Goethe, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, up to Kaiser Wilhelm.”[38] Though Santayana later reassessed his attitude towards Germany, his autobiography Person and Places (1944-1953) criticized on the German national culture, which was full of “officialism, pedantry, or insane vanity.”[39]

With the war ending in 1918, intellectuals as well as writers worked through their war experiences and tried to distance themselves from anti-German propaganda. During the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) some writers attempted a revision of the commonly used national heterostereotypes of the First World War and restored some of the old favorable opinions about Germany.[40] The works of Sinclair Lewis and Louis Untermeyer, for instance, reminded the American readers of ‘the country of poets and thinkers’. After traveling to Germany Sinclair Lewis included his impressions of Munich and Vienna in the ironic-satirical essay “An American Views the Huns” arguing against the common image of German militarism:

And so we came to Munich and saw on the streets the grim military police who have now been forbidden by the overlords of Germany. The first time I asked the direction of one of these villainous Huns, I had a shock. Instead of saying, like any free-born American cop, “What d’yuh want, Billy?,” the policeman saluted and stood at attention: Worse than that, he brought out a map and made clear the directions. By this time, I realized the dangers of the military police in Germany. They were trying, by subtle propaganda, to win over the Americans.[41]

The beauty of Vienna and people’s friendliness there caused Lewis to disregard all the remaining negative images of Germany which had been so popular during World War I: “By this time it was only with the greatest difficulty that a True American could keep up the hatred of the Middle European which befits any True American.”[42] Moreover, Lewis ironically commented on the stereotypical depiction of the ‘obedient and brutal Prussians’ offering the picture of a sophisticated and educated nation:

Then we met a typical Hun. He was not only a Hun but a Baron. […] The Baron was of an old Viennese family […] And it was he who accompanied us to Vienna, carrying out the propaganda.[43]

This fund of Lewis’ Germany experiences is also reflected in his novel Dodsworth (1929), in which a successful car manufacturer called Sam and his superficial wife Fran travel through Europe. Similarly to the author, the protagonist of the novel, Sam begins to reassess the German culture after having been influenced by the American propaganda during World War I:

He still had a war psychosis. He had expected to find in Germany despotic and “saber-clanking” officials and hateful policemen; had worked up an adequate rage in anticipation. He was nearly disappointed when he found the customs officials friendly, when he asked questions of a Berlin policeman and was answered with a salute and directions in English, and when their room waiter at the Adlon remembered having seen them at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago! Now he admitted that in all of Europe […] he found only the British and the Germans his own sort of people.[44]

In fact, the protagonist of Lewis’s novel enjoyed the German life style, the clean cities and the people’s hospitality and therefore felt “at one with the Germans.”[45]

When the poet and editor Louis Untermeyer got acquainted with the Austrian cultural elite and experienced the wonderful cultural scene of Vienna in 1923 to 1924, he was inspired to hark back to the old idealized romantic images of Germany. In his Blue Rhine, Black Forest: A Hand- and Day-Book (1930) Untermeyer deliberately tied in to the well-known guidebooks and travelogues, even taking up episodes and phrases of Twain’s A Tramp Abroad and Longfellow’s Hyperion. There he confirmed the fascination of ‘Old Heidelberg’:

Long before “Alt Heidelberg” lent its romance to a lachrymose student prince, it was one of the most romantic places in Europe. It still is. And it is more. It combines the charm of the antique, the scholastic aura of the bookmen, the punctilio of dueling fraternities, the altertness of modern art.[46]

Although some negative hetero-images such as the excessive eating of Germans are mentioned, his writings remained detached of the alarming political tendencies, which were becoming increasingly apparent.[47]

In opposition to Sinclair and Untermeyer, various American writers who settled in Europe and especially Paris during the 1920s, had a less romantic and more critical view of Germany. These ‘American expatriates’[48] such as Malcolm Cowley, Robert McAlmon and Langston Hughes highlighted the country’s moral demolition in the years of the Weimar Republic. Malcolm Cowley’s Exile’s Return: A Narrative of Ideas (1934) pointed out how Europe had lost its old virtues and Robert McAlmon’s Distinguished Air (1925) presented a morally degenerated Berlin. The German metropolis appeared as a replica of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah: full of outrageous nightclubs, dubious people, prostitutes and drug addicts.[49] The run-down, poor and desperate people of Berlin were also depicted in Langston Hughes’ autobiography I Wonder As I Wander (1956). Nevertheless, it was just this demolition of taboos and morals which led so many American expatriates to Europe, where, far from the provincialism and small-mindedness of their own culture, they could experience life to the fullest.

Some expatriates such as Thomas Wolfe, Kay Boyle and Katherine Anne Porter, who all spent time in Germany, ignored the initial signs of the national socialist movement within their host country. Yet, it was not always sheer ignorance. These writers hoped the new vitality and corporate feeling would help Germany to regain its former unity. This newly admired enthusiasm was depicted in Thomas Wolfe’s novel Th e Web and the Rock (1939) which included a scene at the ‘Hofbräuhaus’ in Munich: “the place was one enormous sea-slop of beer-power, Teutonic masculine energy and vitality.”[50] Thomas Wolfe continued his admiration for Germany in spite of the growing fascist regime as his protagonist George ‘Monk’ Webber becomes one of the crowd at the Oktoberfest.[51]

Always having contrasted the materialistic America with his beloved Germany, it is not until his last visit to Europe in 1936/37 that Wolfe noticed the dramatic political and social changes in German society. In his posthumously published novel You Can’t Go Home Again (1940) Wolfe’s protagonist Monk Webber is confronted with a shocking realization:

Sometimes it came to me in the desperate pleading of an eye, the naked terror of a startled look, the swift concealment of a sudden fear. […] They told me stories of friends and relatives who had said unguarded things in public and disappeared without trace, stories of the Gestapo, […] stories of concentration camps and pogroms, stories of rich Jews striped and beaten and robbed. […] It was a picture of Dark Ages come again.[52]

Consequently, Webber, reflecting Thomas Wolfe’s reactions, turned his back on Germany and focused on the young America as the last hope for mankind.[53]

With the first global war creating a greater demand for foreign correspondents, the political and social situation within Germany became well-documented within reports, analyses and critical accounts. Many authors, including Sinclair Lewis, made use of this material. In fact, Lewis read his wife’s critical account I Saw Hitler (1933) before setting out to write his political novel It Can’t Happen Here (1935). It featured an American journalist called Doremus Jessup who struggles against a new right-wing dictatorship in his country.[54] Lewis’s protagonist confronts unscrupulous fundamentalism and brutal ethnic cleansing of blacks and Jews in concentration camps. Despite this apparent analogy to the 1930s Germany, the author did not intend to create a negative German stereotype of the ‘cruel brute’ but wanted to object to the country’s national hatred and hysteria. After all, such a fascist takeover could happen in any country, even – as depicted in this novel – America.[55]

With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the American nation started to revaluate their picture of the dynamic ‘new Germany.’ Though the country was a great host for many nations during the Olympic Games in 1936, there had been critical voices heard throughout the United States. However, earlier warnings of Hitler’s dictatorship and brutality against the Jews were neglected as the Americans favored the policy of isolationism. It was not until German emigrants gave an account of Nazi Germany that Americans realized the alarming proportions of Hitler’s regime. Due to a growing American abhorrence of Germany old and new exaggerated heterostereotypes could be found in the works of Frederic Prokosch, Louis Bromfield, Upton Sinclair, Gertrude Stein and Katherine Anne Porter.[56]

Fredric Prokosch’s adventure and travel stories, The Asiatics (1935), The Seven Who Fled (1937) and The Skies of Europe (1941) noted numerous negative German stereotypes. In The Skies of Europe, an American journalist named Philip who resides in Paris regularly visits his relatives in Bavaria and Austria. Following the events in the years from 1936 to 1939, Philip notices the transformation of Austria after the annexation to Germany. When he realizes how easily his relatives, former class mates, teachers, as well as his brother Dietrich are caught up in the national socialists’ ideology, he is deeply concerned. Thus, Prokosch put emphasis on how susceptible the Germans were to raging fatalism and national socialist authorities. Furthermore, his novel commented on the brutality of fascist Germany:


[1] See Peter Boerner, “Das Bild vom anderen Land als Gegenstand literarischer Forschung,” in Deutschlands literarisches Amerikabild: Neuere Forschungen zur Amerikarezeption der deutschen Literatur, ed. by A. Ritter (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1977).

[2] The ‘Other’ refers to the other nation.

[3] Harald Husemann, “Stereotypes in Landeskunde – Shall We Join Them if We Cannot Beat Them?,” in Mediating a Foreign Culture: The United States and Germany, ed. by Lothar Bredella (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1991), p. 16. Furthermore, see Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York: Transaction Publishers, 1998).

[4] Ibid., p. 17.

[5] See Peter Freese, “Exercise in Boundary-Making: The German as the ‘Other’ in American Literature” in Germany and German Thought in American Literature and Cultural Criticism, ed. by Peter Freese (Essen: Blaue Eule, 1990), p. 93.

[6] See János Riesz, “Einleitung: Zur Omnipräsenz nationaler und ethnischer Stereotype,” Komparatistische Hefte, 2 (1980), pp. 1-2.

[7] Freese, “Exercise in Boundary-Making: The German as the ‘Other’ in American Literature,” p. 94.

[8] Franz K. Stanzel, “National Stereotypes in Literature,” in Images of Central Europe in Travelogues and Fiction by North American Writers, ed. by Waldemar Zacharasiewicz (Tübingen: Stauffenberg Verlag, 1995), p. 1.

[9] Ibid, pp. 1-4.

[10] See Freese, op. cit., pp. 94-95.

[11] Konrad H. Jarausch, “Huns, Krauts or Good Germans?: The German Image in America,” in Heritage and Challenge: German-American Interrelations, ed. by James F. Harris (Tübingen: ATTEMPTO Verlag and Tübingen University Press, 1985), p. 148.

[12] Ibid., p. 147.

[13] See Waldemar Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft), p. 29.

[14] See Jarausch, op. cit., p. 148.

[15] See Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, pp. 31-35.

[16] Charles Goethe Balyor, “America to Germany,” Boston Daily Journal (January 1871), quoted in Clara Eve Schieber, The Transformation of American Sentiment Toward Germany: 1870-1917 (New York: Russell and Russell, 1973), p. 23.

[17] In the following years both countries struggled for nationhood. In the United States the Civil War and in Germany the wars of unification proceeded.

[18] See Eckhardt Marten, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Auslandsberichterstattung (Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitätsverlag, 1989), p. 126.

[19] See Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, pp. 107-108.

[20] Maud Howe Elliott, My Cousin F. Marion Crawford (Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2007; facsimile reprint), p. 27.

[21] Dudley Warner, The Complete Writings of Charles Dudley Warner, vol. II, ed. by Thomas R. Lounsbury (Hartford, Connecticut: The American Publishing Co., 1904), p. 155.

[22] Page numbers refer to Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, vol. I. (Grosse Point, Michigan: Scholarly Press, n.d.; facsimile reprint of The Author’s National Edition).

[23] See Marten, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Auslandsberichterstattung, p. 123.

[24] Jarausch, “Huns, Krauts or Good Germans?: The German Image in America,” p. 149.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Henry Adams, Education of Henry Adams, ed. by Leon Wieseltier (New York: Vintage, 1990), p. 134.

[27] For further details see: Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, pp. 138-140.

[28] Ibid., pp. 138-39.

[29] Thomas P. Riggio, ed., Dreiser-Mencken Letters, vol. I (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), p. 187.

[30] At that time Woodrow Wilson had established the ‘Creel Commission’ which influenced American public opinion towards supporting U.S. intervention in World War I via a vigorous propaganda campaign.

[31] See Zacharasiewicz, op. cit., pp. 140-141.

[32] Jörg Nagler, “From Culture to Kultur: Changing American Perceptions of Imperial Germany, 1870-1914,” in Transatlantic Images and Perceptions. Germany and America since 1776, ed. by Detlef Junker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 154.

[33] See Jarausch, “Huns, Krauts or Good Germans?: The German Image in America,” p. 150.

[34] New York Times, June 1, 1915, quoted in Jörg Nagler, op. cit., p. 154.

[35] Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., The Letters of Henry Adams (1892 – 1918) (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1938), p. 132.

[36] See Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, p. 157.

[37] Kenneth M. Price, “George Santayana and Germany: An Uneasy Relationship,” in Germany and German Thought in American Literature and Cultural Criticism, ed. by Peter Freese (Essen: Blaue Eule, 1990), p. 165.

[38] Ibid.

[39] George Santayana, Persons and Places. Fragments of Autobiography, ed. by William G. Holzberger and Herman J. Saatkamp (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1986), p. 119.

[40] See Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, p. 166. Eckhardt Marten, however, argues that there was hardly any change in the American-German image during the Weimar Republic (1918-33). Cf. Marten, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Auslandsberichterstattung, p. 129.

[41] Sinclair Lewis, “An American Views the Huns,” The Nation, 61 (1925), 19-20.

[42] Ibid., p. 20.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth (New York: Signet Classic Edition, 1995), p. 234.

[45] Lewis, Dodsworth, p. 233.

[46] Louis Untermeyer, Blue Rhine, Black Forest. A Hand- and Day-Book (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1930), p. 110.

[47] See Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, pp. 173-174.

[48] Creating the largest artistic mass migration ever made from the New World, American artists and writers, disillusioned with the political climate, the wide-spread provincialism and small-mindedness of American culture, settled in Europe. They were called ‘expatriates.’ See Ishbel Ross, The Expatriates (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Company, 1970), p. 5.

[49] See Zacharasiewicz, op. cit., p. 179.

[50] Stutman, Suzanne, ed., My Other Loneliness: Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Aline Bernstein (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1983), p. 136.

[51] See Thomas Wolfe, The Web and the Rock (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984), p. 670.

[52] Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1970), p. 668.

[53] Ibid., p. 558.

[54] See Zacharasiewicz, Das Deutschlandbild in der amerikanischen Literatur, pp. 195-197.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid., pp. 202-206.

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The image of Germany and the Germans in Erica Jong’s "Fear of Flying " and Walter Abish’s "How German Is It "
University of Paderborn
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Germany, Germans, Erica, Jong’s, Fear, Flying, Walter, Abish’s, German
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Ulrike Miske (Author), 2007, The image of Germany and the Germans in Erica Jong’s "Fear of Flying " and Walter Abish’s "How German Is It ", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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