Victorian Women Writers and the Other Germany
Cross Cultural Freedoms and Female Opportunity
Linda K. Hughes
Shedding new light on the alternative, emancipatory Germany discovered and written about by progressive women writers during the long nineteenth century, this illuminating study uncovers a country that offered a degree of freedom and intellectual agency unheard of in England. Opening with the striking account of Anna Jameson and her friendship with Ottilie von Goethe, Linda K. Hughes shows how cultural differences spurred ten writers’ advocacy of progressive ideas and provided fresh materials for publishing careers. Alongside well-known writers – Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Michael Field, Elizabeth von Arnim, and Vernon Lee – this study sheds light on the lesser-known writers Mary and Anna Mary Howitt, Jessie Fothergill, and the important Anglo-Jewish lesbian writer Amy Levy. Armed with their knowledge of the German language, each of these women championed an extraordinarily productive openness to cultural exchange and, by approaching Germany through a female lens, imported an alternative, ‘other’ Germany into English letters.
Linda K. Hughes is Addie Levy Professor of Literature at Texas Christian University. She edited The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Women’s Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and has published extensively on long nineteenth century literature, culture, and women’s and gender studies. Her earlier books include The Cambridge Introduction to Victorian Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Graham R.: Rosamund Marriott Watson, Woman of Letters (2005), which received the Colby Prize.
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