The image of Germany and the Germans in Erica Jong's
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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 "

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Ulrike Miske
210x148x5 mm
Bd.V115289, Akademische Schriftenreihe

Examination Thesis from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Paderborn, 67 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: 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.