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In the 18th century, Great Britain became a European – indeed world – power. Following the “Glorious Revolution”, the kingdom seemed to represent an interesting alternative to absolutist rule and the primary Protestant power in Europe. It began to exert a cultural attraction throughout most of Europe and provided a cultural template for various areas of life. This Anglophilia was strongest in Germany.
Schon der Gedanke: Du siehst England, machte mich für Freude beben …; denn ich bekenne: Bücher und Reisen waren immer für mich die einzige vollkommene Glückseligkeit dieses Lebens. Besonders England, dessen Geschichte, Schriftsteller und Landwirthschaft, ich mir schon so lange bekannt machte, sie schon so lange liebte – war immer ein Punkt, nach welchem meine ganze Seele begierig war; und diese letzte halbe Stunde auf der See war mir unschätzbar.1
The writer Sophie von La Roche (1731–1807), née Gutermann von Gutershofen, married Georg Michael Frank von La Roche (1720–1788), the privy counsellor of the Electorate of Mainz, after a dissolved engagement to Christoph Martin Wieland (1733–1813). Her short stories and epistolary novels (for example, Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim, 2 vols, 1771) emulated the styles of Samuel Richardson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau und Oliver Goldsmith. She recorded her journey to Holland and England in 1786 in a travelogue (Tagebuch einer Reise durch Holland und England, 1788). / Wikimedia Commons
[LEFT]: Following his studies, the author, philosopher and theologian Johann Gottfried (since 1802) von Herder initially worked as a clergyman. He travelled extensively in France, Holland and Italy. His writings concentrated mainly on linguistic theory (Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache, 1772), the philosophy of history (Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, 1784–1791) and the history of literature and culture (Über die neuere Deutsche Litteratur, 1767; Von deutscher Art und Kunst, 1773), many of which presented ground-breaking theories. He also contributed to the “Sturm und Drang” movement and influenced 19th century philosophy (Hegel, Schelling) as well as the poetry of the Romantic Movement. / Library of Congress
[RIGHT]: The publicist Johann Wilhelm von Archenholtz (1743–1812) fought for Prussia in the Seven Years War, which he described in his best known work Geschichte des Siebenjährigen Krieges in Deutschland von 1756 bis 1763 (1793). After the Treaty of Hubertusburg (1763) he received an honourable discharge from the army, travelled through Europe and stayed six years in England, as well as other countries. As the writer of a popular travelogue England und Italien (1785) and editor of both Annalen der Brittischen Geschichte (1789–1799) and the British Mercury (1787–1790), Archenholtz was an important mediator between Great Britain and Germany and a prominent representative of Anglophilia, until he started increasingly turning to France under the influence of the French Revolution. / Wikimedia Commons
The writer 2 on 4 September 1786, at the height of Anglophilia. Anglophilia is the “passion for England, the English and every English”.3 It can arise in any period;4 this article, however deals with a specific historical phenomenon that spread throughout 18th-century , but above all in , and reached its highpoint in the two decades preceding the French Revolution. There were examples of Anglophilia in ,5 6 and .7 However, in Germany it achieved an overarching importance. The cultural construct of Anglophilia was characterised by the fact that it was not restricted to individual spheres of life such as or fashion; instead, an Anglophile cultivated a positive view of everything that came from . Sophie von La Roche was articulating not only her personal feelings, but also a common form of perception that characterised a certain phase of German thought. By mentioning history, literature and agriculture, she identified just three fields that stood for the wide spectrum of topics where England seemed to set an example. Other authors focused more on politics, the theatre or garden design. summed it up as the “Geschichte, Philosophie, Politik und Sonderbarkeiten dieser wunderbaren Nation”.8 For the Prussian publicist , the English were “das aufgeklärteste Volk unserer Erde”.9used these effusive words to describe her feelings as she approached the “Queen of Islands”
Inspiration from the French Enlightenment
[LEFT]: The French writer and philosopher Voltaire [real name: François Marie Arouet] (1694–1778) enjoyed, as the son of a wealthy notary, a humanist education. In 1719, he came to notice with his first tragedy Œdipe; his epic Henriade (1723) made him famous throughout Europe. In 1726, he fled the threat of arrest to England, where he lived until 1729. He published the Letters concerning the English Nation (1733; the French version, Lettres philosophiques, appeared in 1734) on his stay there. Alongside Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois it became the key work of Anglophilia. Following his return, he occupied himself with the study of mathematics and the natural sciences. His Éléments de la philosophie de Newton (1738) made Newton’s cosmology well-known on the continent. Between 1749 and 1753, he lived in Potsdam in response to an invitation from Frederick II., and from 1758 at the Ferney Castle near Lake Geneva. During this period, he published, amongst other works, historical studies and his most famous text Candide ou l’optimisme (1759). / Wikimedia Commons
[CENTER]: The French political philosopher Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu (1689–1755) was, following his humanist and legal education, the president of the parlaments of Bordeaux from 1716 to 1726. Afterwards, he travelled throughout Europe, staying in England, and other countries, between 1729 and 1731. In 1748, his opus magnum on political authority De l’esprit des lois appeared, which was of importance for the American constitution as well as that of the French Revolution of 1791, and the doctrine of the separation of powers in general. Many contemporaries perceived De l’esprit des lois as an accurate depiction of the Great Britain’s constitution, and alongside Voltaire’s Lettres philosophiques, it was a key work in continental Anglophilia. / Library of Congress
[RIGHT]: Although they draw on well-known material, the works of the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616) are distinguished by the psychological portraits of his characters and the individuality ascribed to them. Shakespeare was already recognised as one of England’s leading dramatists during his lifetime, but in the second half of the 18th century he became seen as the embodiment of the poet as inspired creator throughout Europe. In Germany, in particular, Shakespeare became a dramatic paradigm and the epitome of original genius. He acquired a cult status that extended to the “nationalisation” of Shakespeare as a “German” poet, to which the translations by Christoph Martin Wieland (1733–1813), August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767–1845) and Ludwig Tieck (1773–1853) contributed. / University of Texas Libraries
Anglophilia was a phenomenon of the 18th-century Enlightenment and as such developed as an undercurrent within a 10 Following the “Glorious Revolution”, the whole of Europe had followed political events on the British Isle with great interest. , who had flocked to Holland and England in the wake of the revocation of the 1598 Edict of ,11 praised these countries as refuges of liberty. , in particular, aroused the interest of Enlightenment Europe in England with his Letters concerning the English Nation (1733), published during his stay in England.12 In his eyes, this was the country of (empirical) philosophy, the modern natural sciences, free thought, tolerance, civil activeness and prosperity.13 , who also travelled through England, outlined in De l’Esprit des lois (1748) the mixed constitution with the separation of the legislature, executive and judiciary as the ; the English pattern was clearly recognisable.14 Through Voltaire, English authors such as , , and acquired fame in France. Anglophilia became so fashionable in France after the mid-18th century that critics soon denounced and mocked it as “Anglomania” .15. During the reign of , the French court, the and French culture had set the standards for the rest of Europe. After his death, however, this dominance weakened. Even during the Régence, Anglophile tones made themselves heard, for example with the abandonment of highly formalised dances in favour of English country dances.
Esteem for a foreign nation must be understood against the backdrop of one’s judgement on one’s own country. In both France and Germany, Anglophilia normally contained an element of criticism of local society. The England described by Voltaire and Montesquieu was the opposite of the French form of rule. Anglophiles praised the liberty and naturalness of the English example. Appeals to the example of England contained the potential of a “proximate stranger”: in contrast to the exoticists and utopians, whose longings had no concrete aim,16 the Anglophiles referred to another world that was within easy reach; one only needed to brave a short journey by sea in order to see for oneself how things were in England. As a result, Anglophile concepts were prone to rebuttals. Anglophiles risked the danger of disappointment if they dared confront the “proximate stranger”.17
In contrast to France, whose Enlighteners brought Anglophilia to Germany, the German view of England acquired a different critical meaning. Certainly, aristocracy, royal arbitrariness and limitations on public expressions of opinion were not unknown in Germany. To a certain extent, the new potential for identification offered by Enlightened Anglophilia overlapped. However, the image of England took on more complex forms in that – where it was constructed to contrast with France – it embodied civic equality and Germanic liberty. Some Anglophiles played off England against France. The French origins of the European aristocracy seemed too obvious to ignore.18 In addition, a concept of “Germanic freedom” developed that deduced a certain level of affinity and similarity based on the kinship of the German and English peoples.19 Thus, the English were “die auf eine Insel verpflanzten Deutschen”,20 or to put it another way: English freedom was also an appropriate yardstick for the situation in the small German states. Something that was not possible in Germany could be studied through the example of England. Here, two complementary trends overlapped: although Anglophilia originated in France, it could be used against the French (or against certain aspects of French culture and society). The postulate of German-English affinity legitimised the orientation towards a new ideal of culture that was independent of France.
Foundations of Anglophilia in Germany
[LEFT]: The Swiss historian Johann Jakob Bodmer (1698–1783), who held the chair of Helvetian history from 1725 to 1775 in Zurich, was an early expert in and mediator of English literature. He played an important role in promoting the works of John Milton (1608–1674), whose Paradise Lost he translated, and Shakespeare in the German speaking area. Together with Johann Jakob Breitinger, he published the moral weekly Discourse der Mahlern (1721–1723), which sought to emulate English examples. With Breitinger he also entered a public debate on poetics with the literary critic Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700–1766), against whom they argued in favour of the use of fantasy in literature, citing the examples of Milton and Shakespeare in their argument (Critische Abhandlung von dem Wunderbaren in der Poesie, 1740). / Wikimedia Commons
[RIGHT]: The Swiss philologist Johann Jakob Breitinger (1701–1776) was together with Johann Jakob Bodmer an early supporter of English literature in the German-speaking area. Like Bodmer, he also worked as a translator from English. Together with Bodmer, he published the moral weekly Discourse der Mahlern (1721–1723) which emulated the English predecessor. With Bodmer he also entered a public debate on poetics with the literary critic Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700–1766), against whom they argued in favour of the use of fantasy in literature, citing the examples of Milton and Shakespeare in their argument (Critische Dichtkunst, 1740). / Wikimedia Commons
Constitution de l’Angleterre 1774, BnF, Gallica
What made Anglophilia possible in Germany? The first decisive factor is that Protestant Germany (like Protestant 21 The older Reformation links between the Swiss cities and England meant that English thought also had an impact on the literary discourse of Swiss writers such as and . They drew on English sources and literature to support their defence of artistic fantasy, the naturalistic and the emotional against the group around the literary critic and its orientation towards French classicism.22 In retrospect, one of the most insightful travelogues during the early Enlightenment was that by , a Protestant from raised in a French environment.23 Jurist from wrote the most important political text on constitutional structures after Montesquieu.24 In short, while at the European level the Huguenots are considered to have had a considerable propagandistic impact, one must remember that there was a considerable willingness to accept all things English in Protestant Europe.) saw itself in a complex tangle of relationships with England, in an essentially common cultural space described by travellers’ accounts, particularly those of theologians. Lutheran pastors such as , and not only spent a considerable time in England, but also wrote the definitive works for the German audience on the country’s geography and culture.
The close relations between England and the Hanseatic cities since the Middle Ages also provided the foundations for Anglophilia. Merchants from 25, , , , , and maintained a lively relationship with , as did the many British, above all Scottish, immigrants to the Hanseatic cities. The closest contacts were between London and , known at the time as the “gateway to England”. In the theatre, press, book trade, patriotic societies and , change in Hamburg drew on English inspirations and Hamburg was usually the first city on the continent to adopt English ways and pass them on to the rest of Germany.
After studying mathematics, astronomy and natural history, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799) became professor of mathematics in Gottingen in 1770. The experience of teaching English students, two journeys to England (1770, 1774/1775) and his correspondence with contacts in London provided him with an excellent knowledge of English. As a result, he was in a good position to report on and from England for the Deutsche Museum and the Göttinger Taschenkalender, which he edited. At the same time, Lichtenberg, himself an occasional caricaturist, popularised the English painter and engraver William Hogarth in his four-volume Ausführlichen Erklärung der Hogarth’schen Kupferstiche, to which he devoted the last years of his life. / Smithsonian Institution Libraries
In addition, there were also the 26 English nobles studied in Gottingen, as indeed did royal princes.27 Professors at Gottingen such as had the opportunity to travel to England and spend long periods there.28 Gottingen, the reforming university of the Enlightenment, became a gateway for English thought and the centre of Anglophilia in Germany. In the words of the historian , a professor at Gottingen, “Wir sind ja hier so gerne Halb-Engländer, und gewiß nicht bloß in Kleidung, Sitte und Mode, sondern auch im Charakter”.29through the Hanoverian dynasty after the Elector of became king of England under the name of . , the Electorate’s university founded in 1734, carefully cultivated the English connection. The university library could make use of the diplomatic post.
Anglophilia as a Cultural Construct
Anglophilia is a cultural construct made up of mutually reinforcing components. Admittedly, one can separate analytically individual strands (for example, 30 While “freedom” has an essentially political meaning, it can also be an ethical and aesthetic value. “Nature” contains not only the contrast to “culture”, but also the reference to the (classically understood as a period in which mankind was still unspoilt); religious, aesthetic and scientific elements intertwine with one another here. The idea of England was repeatedly interlocked with that of freedom, individual self-realisation, relative equality, forceful nationality, the orientation towards empirical experience (instead of theory or ideology), the inclination to hard work in commerce and industry, and a gift for invention.and the ). However, on closer examination, it becomes clear that the central characteristic of the cultural construct is the very interdependence of the various areas, the way they overlap and their foundation in common values. When talking of Anglophilia, one must emphasize the central values of “freedom” and “nature”.
In the arts, England seemed, at first, to be a latecomer. The adoption of developments within the visual arts and music emanating from 31 By 1785, this was already common.32 Not a few Europeans from various countries travelled to England with the express goal of taking inspiration from an ideal that was not only fashionable, but also genuinely modern in that it corresponded to contemporary sensibilities. The more formal Italian and French modes of gardening, with their straight allées, trimmed trees and regimented beddings, were replaced by a form of art inspired by the ideal of nature, which was organised in order to offer the strolling viewer extremely varied views of winding paths and groups of trees and bushes (including exotic trees), as well as surprising vistas of the open landscape.and later, in a second phase, France took place in the 18th century as a result of an extensive network of patronage, the emergence of a market for literature, and art, and a culture of connoisseurship that extended beyond the aristocracy into the middle classes. Only later did an art form appear – landscape gardening – that seemed specifically English, not only in the English self-image, but also in that of travellers from continental Europe. The writer and politician put it thus: “We have discovered the point of perfection. We have given the true model of gardening to the world; let other countries mimic or corrupt our taste; but let it reign here in its verdant throne”.
For people of this period, the close relationship to the modes of seeing created by the visual arts is evident in the dictum formulated by 33 That which had created for landscape painting should be converted into natural life.34 Painters such as and offered wilder versions. The development of the garden traces the change in sensibility from the Classical ideal to the picturesque and, indeed, the sublime. The young formulated in his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) the fundamentals of a new aesthetic that exerted considerable influence on the continent.35 From then on, one looked at the countryside differently; consequently, wild mountainous regions such as the and indeed the local peripheries of and were perceived through new eyes.36 The wild and sublime which forced the viewer back into himself, inspiring fear, matched well the Anglophile concept of nature. “Pleasant horror” became a leitmotif of literary aesthetics.37 Gothic fiction acquired an audience in England earlier than elsewhere. The construct of is related to this, indicating the connection of modern sensibility with archaic roots.38: “All garden is landscape-painting. Just like a landscape hung up.”
One could devote an entire chapter to the 39 This was not simply a process of literary reception; rather, by devoting themselves to the English playwright, successive generations of writers contributed to the development of a new idea of mankind. Shakespeare’s individual and undeniably powerful dramas could provide something which the period’s anthropology could not: the acknowledgement of Shakespeare as a universal judge of character made it possible to speak of humanity beyond reason. While initially the question was only how one could overcome the Classical understanding of the world, the discussion was diverted into a debate on the assumed affinity of German and English national characters. This meant a pluralisation in that it broke down the normative imperatives set by ancient . The link to a climatic region and a particular level of civilisation made it possible to historicise the dramatic archetypes. This created an image of mankind that overcame the fissures of 1800 and heralded a specific form of modernity. This transformation took place in the medium literature, with Shakespeare’s dramas offering exempla historica from which theorists of drama could learn and which playwrights could take as archetypes for their own characters. “Nichts so Natur als Schäkespeares Menschen”, exclaimed the young Goethe in 1771 in his speech Zum Schäkespears Tag.40 This insight belongs to the context of Anglophilia, as his adoption by , , Herder and indicates. The latter put it in his lecture of 1803/1804 thus: “Uns Deutschen aber ist unter allen romantischen Dichtern keiner so nahe verwandt, keiner sowohl der äußern Form der Behandlung als dem innern Geiste nach so ganz deutsch wie er.”41!
Karl Philipp Moritz (1757–1793) was born into a poor and firmly Pietist family. He first worked as a hatter’s apprentice and actor before starting to study theology, which he funded by teaching English and translating. From 1789, he was the professor of archaeology in Berlin. He published the popular travelogue Reisen eines Deutschen in England im Jahr 1782 (1783) on his journey to England. He followed this with a similar description of his journey through Italy, during which he befriended Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), the three-volume Reisen eines Deutschen in Italien in den Jahren 1786 bis 1788 (1792–1793). His opus magnum, the autobiographical novel Anton Reiser with Pietist tinges, appeared between 1785 and 1790 in four volumes. / Wikimedia Commons
The considerable multiplicity of the Anglophile cultural template is evident in the tension between the middle-class, rational, empirical and industrious on the one hand and the modern sensibility, on the other, that seems to contradict these aspects in that it connotes transformation, reprocessing and compensation. Anglophiles adopted both elements: while they marvelled at London’s shop windows and visited the factories of 42 One travelled to England in order to absorb inspiration for the ; entrepreneurs,43 farmers,44 architects,45 doctors and naturalists46 chose this destination. At the same time, one travelled to England in order to savour the new sensibility. The decisive element of the cultural construct of Anglophilia is that one cannot simply ascribe the industrial components to the commercial tourists and the aesthetic ones to the writers and artists. The scope of perceptions of each individual traveller reveals instead the complexity of the Anglophile disposition., they understood the city and the beginnings of the industrial revolution and urbanisation as fearsome and inhumane. The author wrote on his arrival in : “Tage und Stunden fingen mich an zu gereuen, die ich in London zugebracht hatte, und ich machte mir tausend Vorwürfe wegen meiner Unentschlossenheit, dass ich nicht schon längst jenen großen Kerker verlassen hatte, um mich in einem Paradiese zu verweilen.”
Political Aspects of Anglophilia
Der Haupt-Charakterzug der Britten ist der ihnen ganz eigenthümliche Public Spirit; eine in allen andern Ländern so unbekannte Tugend, daß man in keiner lebenden Sprache einen Namen dafür hat. Das Wort Nationalgeist bezeichnet diese edle brittische Eigenschaft nur sehr unvollkommen. Eigentlich ist es der Wille, oder das eifrige Bestreben einzelner Menschen, das allgemeine Beste zu bewirken.47
With these sentences, Archenholtz highlighted one of the most powerful attractions for Anglophiles, which provided an opportunity for both introspection of and application in one’s own life. Public spirit means, in this sense, something ethical. While the German states (and Enlightened absolutism!) gave individuals from the middle classes little room for self-expression, a form of public had emerged in England whose liberality seemed to point the way to the future:
In despotischen Staaten ist selbst der aufgeklärte Mensch, reich oder arm, vornehm oder niedrig, nur mit seiner eigenen Erhaltung beschäftigt; er kann bloß fromme Wünsche für die übrige Menschheit thun, und überläßt es den Mächtigen dieser Erde sie zu realisieren. Die Britten aber, ohne Rücksicht, ob es Könige thun, schreiten selbst zu Werke.48
The general slogan of “freedom” is here ensconced in social ethics. The well-known attributes of the separation of powers, trial by jury and so on49 do not alone characterise the English political world. It is a civilian world, in which the military does not play a role; it is a middle-class world, in which social rank is less important than on the continent. This is the ideal of “taking the leash off those who work hard” bound up with the conviction that this unimpeded self-realisation also guarantees salus publica. German observers, by visiting London coffee houses and experiencing the tumult of parliamentary elections, by listening to the great speakers in the House of Commons and reading the newspapers, partook of some of the freedom they wished at home. Karl Philipp Moritz was enthralled:
O lieber Freund, wenn man hier siehet, wie der geringste Karrenschieber an dem was vorgeht, seine Teilnehmung bezeigt, wie die kleinsten Kinder schon in den Geist des Volks mit einstimmen, kurz wie ein jeder hier sein Gefühl zu erkennen gibt, daß er auch ein Mensch und ein Engländer sei, so gut wie sein König und sein Minister, dabei wird einem doch ganz anders zu Mute, als wenn wir bei uns in Berlin die Soldaten exerzieren sehen.50
The political component of the English ideal clearly meant a proposition for reform of the situation in Germany. By praising England, one could refer to the utopia of another society that really existed, a different political system, an alternative public sphere. German Anglophiles approached the question of 51 Educated Germans experienced in England the reality about which they had read in the works of Classical authors. The association socio-ethics granted middle-class political thought a character that was humane and philanthropic rather than rebellious.in terms of “for” and “against”. Just as the British saw themselves as the descendents of ancient so did German onlookers perceive them as such.
This is closely connected to those components that break up the contradiction between the Anglophiles’ positive image of England and the negative one of themselves – the national. On the island, one could experience the robust national consciousness of John Bull. German Anglophiles were attracted rather than repelled by this: in England, one could see genuine national pride, i.e. that which politically divided German lacked. In particular, Wendeborn extended this to the conclusion that not only did xenophobia and chauvinism dominated the English body politic, but that the development of a German national consciousness following the English pattern was a patriotic and moral task: Germans were not indifferent to a national mindset due to a differentiated mentality, but rather egotism and blind adherence to corporate status.52
Travelling as a Medium of Cultural Transfer
Neueste Reisen durch England 1781, SUB Göttingen
An important element of Anglophilia was based on journeys to England, the inspection of the “promised land”. In contrast to the 16th and 17th centuries, all the important 18th-century writers on England had travelled the country and could write from their own experience, although they also used English books, journals and newspapers as sources.53 In accordance with the standards of referencing and quotation established by the Enlightenment, one would expect no less.54 Experts on England such as Archenholtz, Wendeborn and had lived in the country for several years. Only the guidebook by represented nothing more than a compilation.55
Journeys to England had become easier in the 18th century due to clear improvements in the infrastructure (of country roads, turnpike roads, hostels and taverns).56 The next leap forward in land travel took place with the introduction of the railway and in sea travel with the steamship in the early 19th century. In general, the travellers praised the safety and comfort of travelling in English stagecoaches, although a residual fear of highwaymen remained as a spur to the fantasy that could be expressed in biographies of criminals.57 Journeys by stagecoach had become so regular, so cheap and so comfortable that wayfarers such as Moritz noticed that only vagrants still travelled by foot.58 The regular stagecoach routes made visits to England easier to plan and complete in a predictable time. While the grand tours of an earlier age could last years, journeys in the epoch of the middle classes only required weeks or, at most, months. Some people could complete a summer holiday in England in six to eight weeks; in the late 18th century, such recuperative trips were no longer rare among professionals and merchants.
All German travellers visited London, spending the longest part of their trip in what, at the time, was Europe’s largest and most fascinating city. Just as 59 In addition, German travellers visited the of and , spa towns such as and also the new industrial centres, for example and Birmingham. At first, Anglophiles generally ignored rural England and the rest of Britain. Not until the late 18th century did travellers start visiting the natural beauties of the ; Moritz was one of the first German travellers to crawl through caves.60 Wendeborn wrote in 1791 that in England it had also become fashionable to travel to Wales.61 Scotland also became a travel destination in the late 18th century.62 Not all visitors realised that the capital was not actually England in nuce, but rather an international melting pot. Certainly, more discerning observers such as the head of the Hamburg commercial academy and , the mother of the philosopher, noticed that London consisted of the City of London and the court in , and that one could only really discern the English national character from the middle classes.63 This tendency to idealise in the epoch of Anglophilia often produced unthinkingly positive assessments. The German preacher Wendeborn, who lived in London, claimed on the basis of his experience of two decades:became the “capital of the world” in the 19th century, so one can see London occupying this position in the 18th century.
Unter den Ausländern, welche über die englische Nation geschrieben, haben die meisten, ein paar ausgenommen, sich nur kurze Zeit, oftmals ohne die englische Sprache zu verstehen, in London aufgehalten. Sie haben die Coffee- und Komödienhäuser nebst einigen unbedeutenden Gesellschaften besucht und sich fähig gehalten, über ein Volk zu schreiben, mit dessen Sitten und Denkungsart sie so wenig bekannt geworden als irgendeines andern, dessen Wohnplätze sie nur auf der Landcharte gesehen.64
Although travelling may have been indispensible for cultural transfer, it had a questionable aspect in that it could provide the foundations for highly generalised judgements!
English Language and Literature in Germany
At the beginning of the 18th century, the ability to speak in English in Germany was very rare and English books almost unobtainable. When the art and book collector Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach was planning his journey to England, the only English book he could find in 65 At the end of the 18th century, the ability to speak English was so common in Germany that the editor and writer could inform Sophie von La Roche that in Leipzig there was a proof-reader for English texts in every street.66 Formal instruction in English did not exist at the beginning of this epoch; those who wanted to learn the language, for example and his sister , had to take private lessons with an English tutor.67 In contrast, from the 1770s, the majority of German universities offered English courses, as did many schools.68 In Germany, English was an academic language like Latin rather than a spoken language like French. Germans learned English primarily from books and had considerable difficulties with pronunciation and making themselves understood when they met Englishmen.69 Initially, most English books were tools for learning the language such as grammars, guides to letter writing and . However, the social and literary later came to play an important role in spreading the English language because they contained short texts, dialogues and descriptions of everyday situations. For many years, Sophie von La Roche edified herself by reading a piece from the Spectator before going to sleep.70 From 1787, Archenholtz published in Hamburg the continent’s first English-language journal, The British Mercury (1787–1790).71was a bible; he said that the only bookshop with English books on the continent was in .
Daniel Chodowiecki (1726–1801), illustration for Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, copper engraving, 1785 / Wikimedia Commons
A decisive factor in the spread of the English language in 18th-cenutry Europe was the English literary renaissance of the Augustan period. The writings of Addison, 72 This was followed by a surge in interest for great epic Paradise Lost, the translation of which by Bodmer was epochal and paved the way for the poet . In a later phase, Germans read the Sentimental novelists: , and opened a new era in Germany.73 The most frequently published work was, incidentally, Vicar of Wakefield.74 Lastly, Shakespeare also achieved a special importance for the development of German drama. Herder summarised this development thus:and Pope first achieved an audience for English writing in Germany.
Daher sind von den Engländern selbst ihre trefflichsten Schriften kaum mit so reger, treuer Wärme aufgenommen worden, als von uns Shakespeare, Milton, Addison, Swift, Thomson, Sterne, Hume, Robertson, Gibbon aufgenommen sind. Richardsons drei Romane haben in Deutschland ihre goldene Zeit erlebet; Youngs Nachtgedanken, Tom Jones, Der Landpriester haben in Deutschland Sekten gestiftet; in englischen Zeitschriften haben wir bewundert, selbst was wir nicht verstanden, was für uns nicht geschrieben war. Und wer wäre es, der die Schotten Ferguson, Smith, Stewart, Millar, Blair nicht ehrte?75
The periods of readership embody entirely different tendencies: the propagation of reason and moderation in the early phase was replaced by the discussion of religious literature at a time when it was undergoing secularisation. The reference to reason was augmented by the impression that England also stood for the dark side of Enlightenment with its emphasis on solitude and death. Ossian is, after all, more a precursor of Romanticism than part of the Enlightenment mainstream.
The Book Trade as a Medium of Cultural Transfer
Göttingische Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen, SUB Göttingen
Books from England had once been in Latin. During the 18th century, above all its second half, German booksellers began selling more and more English-language books. The companies of Wendler, Weidmann and Reich in Leipzig played a leading role, as did the bookseller Carl Heydinger, who was based in London and whose assortment of English books was considerable. From about 1770, there is evidence of an increase in book imports.76 In addition to academic literature and travelogues, historical works and, in particular, novels were extremely important. In 1788, at the apex of Anglophilia, German and Swiss publishers began printing or reprinting their own editions of English literary works. In particular, Thurneysen in made a name for himself in this area, as did Richter in Altenburg and Walther in .77 The establishment of the continent’s first English bookshop in 1788 by William Remnant in Hamburg also represented a new stage.78 Now, it was possible to order any book one wanted from England at little effort and low cost. In this regard, journals were important mediators, not only through the articles they contained, but also their reviews and book announcements.79 Booksellers and writers orientated towards England ordered periodicals from England themselves. In addition, the reviews in the Göttingischen Gelehrten Anzeigen granted it an important mediatory position because in Gottingen one had quicker and greater access to English books than elsewhere. On average, between five and ten percent of the books reviewed in this organ were in English, for example 53 works in the 1769.80 No other German periodical reached a comparable number.
Translation as Cultural Transfer
Regarding the transfer of ideas, it is necessary to mention that in the early decades English writings only acquired notice in Germany after they had been translated into French or discussed in French periodicals.81 To a certain extent, English works (for example, in the realms of philosophy, theology and medicine) were translated into Latin for the European audience. The here: many works only arrived in Germany after they had been reprinted in or discussed in Dutch journals.82 The Huguenots also helped find a European audience for English writing – in England itself, in Holland and in Germany. One can see in the Huguenots an elite encouraging cultural transfer that not only possessed international contacts, but also propagated English thought for theological and ideological reasons.83 There is clear evidence that original translations from English gradually pushed out second-hand translations.84 At the same time, the awareness of this problem increased among readers and in the late 18th century, with the development of the German literary language, the need arose to replace older translations into German with new translations of the same work in order to meet the new standards.
Two tendencies are evident in the body of writing translated from English into German: diversification and acceleration.85 Anglophilia, which had been common since the 1770s, stimulated ever more translations dealing with an increasing number of areas of life, not only from belles lettres, but also scholarly literature and books offering practical advice. The empirical inclination of the English mind was reflected in the particularly high regard accorded to non-fiction written by English writers, who were ascribed clear powers of observation. Thus, travel literature and medical works were translated with particular enthusiasm.
Within this, there were shifts in emphasis, for example when 86 It has also been proven that the translation of political writings were often subjected to a process of adaption to the target culture that sometimes led to misunderstandings.87pedagogical writings had more success than his philosophical works or was read more as a historian than a philosopher.
Johann Reinhold Forster (1729–1798) was the descendant of a Yorkshire landowner who had emigrated as a supporter of Charles I (1600–1649). He was born near Danzig and worked as a Protestant clergyman. In 1765, he undertook an extended journey to Russia with his son Georg. In 1766, he settled in England with his family, where Johann Reinhold Forster struggled to make ends meet as a translator, writer and teacher. Here, the father and son received the opportunity to accompany James Cook (1728–1779) on his second world voyage between 1772 and 1775 (A voyage round the world, 1777). In 1780, Johann Reinhold Forster became professor for natural history in Halle, where he remained until his death.
Georg Forster (1754–1794) was professor in Kassel from 1778, in Vilnius from 1784 and a librarian in Mainz from 1788, where he became the vice-president of the Rhine-German National Convention after the French conquest of the city in 1793. In 1790, he travelled through the Netherlands, Great Britain and France with Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) (Ansichten vom Niederrhein, von Brabant, Flandern, Holland, England und Frankreich, 3 parts, 1791–1794). The chronic penury of both Forsters forced them to moonlight as translators; they functioned, at times, like veritable “translation factories”. They concentrated on translations of travelogues, which at that time were very popular, from English. Due to their various activities as naturalists, teachers, reviewers, correspondents, editors, travel writers and translators, they were both significant mediators between Great Britain and Germany, as well as between Europe and the rest of the world.
Busy 18th-century translators, working from English into German, included 88, , , , , , , , , , , , and Georg Forster , as well as .
As the scope of English writing broadened, so the rate of translation increased in the second half of the 18th century. Instead of a gap of several years between the original publication and translation, now it was just one; indeed, several texts appeared in Germany in the same year as in England. The speed of the translations developed as a result of the increasingly fierce competition among publishers and translators. The number of translations increased from the 1740s, reaching their high point in the two decades before 1789.89
The End of Anglophilia?
The zenith of Anglophilia ended with the French Revolution. Well-known representatives of Anglophilia such as Archenholtz and Wendeborn broke with their ideal of England, seeing now the humanist goals of freedom and equality being realised in France, at least during the early phases of the French Revolution.90 Certainly, there were also Anglophiles such as and Sophie von La Roche who remained loyal to their ideal of England, indeed seeing that the developments in France confirmed their belief that England in fact embodied more reasonable, stabile and harmonious inclinations. After 1800, Anglophilia was therefore no longer unequivocally a matter for progressives and liberals, but in part a component of the restorationist ideal of conservatives who followed Edmund Burke (including, amongst others and ).91
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- “The thought alone of seeing England makes me tremble with joy…; for, I must confess: books and travelling have always been for me the only truly perfect bliss in this life. England, in particular, whose history, writers and agriculture I have studied so long, which I have loved for such a long time, has always been a point that my whole soul desired; and this last half hour on the sea was priceless.” (translation C.G.). La Roche, Holland und England 1788, p. 190.
- Archenholtz, England und Italien 1785, vol.1, p. 11.
- Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, p. 18.
- Buruma, Anglomania 2002.
- Brüch, Anglomanie 1941; Grieder, Anglomania 1985.
- Labutina, Zarozhdenie anglomanii 2008.
- Graf, L’anglomania 1911.
- The “history, philosophy, politics and particularities of this wonderful nation” (translation C.G.). Herder, Sämmtliche Werke 1877–1913, vol. 5, p. 167f.
- “the most Enlightened people on our earth” (translation C.G.). Archenholtz, England und Italien 1785, vol. 2, p. 41f.
- Möser, Sämtliche Werke, vol. 8, p. 272. Zur Entwicklung des Tanzes allgemein: Braun / Gugerli, Macht des Tanzes 1993.
- Duchhardt, Exodus der Hugenotten 1985.
- he work appeared in the following year in French under the title Lettres philosophiques ou Lettres écrites de Londres sur les Anglais (Voltaire, Lettres philosophiques 1734).
- Orieux, Voltaire 1968; Besterman, Voltaire 1971; Perry, Voltaire’s View of England 1977; Pomeau, Saisons anglaises 1983.
- Montesquieu, De l’Esprit des lois 1748. For more on Montesquieu, see Shackleton, Montesquieu 1961; for an important motif in his political thought, see Hölzle, Idee 1925.
- For example, Fougeret de Monbron, Louis Charles: Préservatif contre l’anglomanie, Paris 1757; see also Bruno, La constitution britannique 1931; Grieder, Anglomania 1985.
- Maurer, Sehnsucht 2008.
- This is explored using the example of Justus Mösers in Maurer, Justus Möser in London 1985. On the conversion of a disappointed Anglophile by the French Revolution, see the discussion in Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 207–215.
- Herder, Sämmtliche Werke 1877–1913, vol. 18, p. 161.
- Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 64–67, 415–417.
- “Germans transplanted to the island” (translation C.G.). Herder, Sämmtliche Werke 1877–1913, vol. 18, p. 207f.
- Benthem, Engelländischer Kirch- und Schulen-Staat 1694; Alberti, Zustand der Religion und der Wißenschaften 1752–1754; Wendeborn, Beyträge zur Kentniß Grosbritanniens 1780; Wendeborn, Zustand des Staats 1785–1788 (on Wendeborn, see Maurer, Wendeborn 1988).
- Bender, Bodmer und Breitinger 1973.
- Muralt, Lettres sur les Anglais 1725 (Ausgabe 1933). On Muralt, see Robson-Scott, German Travellers 1953, p. 117.
- Lolme, Jean Louis de: Constitution de l’Angleterre, ou état du gouvernement anglais, comparé avec la forme républicaine et avec les autres monarchies de l’Europe, Amsterdam 1771.
- For more detail, see Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1986, pp. 41–44.
- Fabian, Research Collection 1994; Müllenbrock / Wolpers, Englische Literatur 1988; Mittler, Eine Welt ist nicht genug 2005.
- Scholl, Universität Göttingen 1985.
- Gumbert, Lichtenberg in England 1977; Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 253–291.
- “We are glad to be half-Englishmen here, and by no means just in our clothing, manners and fashions, but also in our character” (translation C.G.). Quoted in Heinemann, Geschichte von Braunschweig und Hannover 1882–1892, vol. 3, p. 381.
- Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 415–419.
- Walpole, On Modern Gardening 1785, p. 81.
- Hoffmann, Landschaftsgarten 1963; Gerndt, Idealisierte Natur 1981; Buttlar, Landschaftsgarten 1989; Throtha, Der englische Garten 1999.
- Spence, Observations 1966, vol. 1, p. 405.
- Roethlisberger, Im Licht von Claude Lorrain 1983.
- Dischner, Rheinromantik 1972.
- Groh / Groh, Weltbild und Naturaneignung 1991; Wozniakowski, Wildnis 1987.
- Begemann, Furcht und Angst 1987; Zelle, Angenehmes Grauen 1987.
- Schmidt, Homer des Nordens 2004–2005.
- Gundolf, Shakespeare und der deutsche Geist 1911; Wolffheim, Die Entdeckung Shakespeares 1959; Blinn, Shakespeare-Rezeption 1982–1988; Stellmacher, Auseinandersetzung mit Shakespeare 1976–1985; Williams, Shakespeare on the German Stage 1990; Maurer, Shakespeare-Rezeption 2004.
- “Nothing is as natural as Shakespeare’s characters”. (translation C.G.). Goethe, Hamburger Ausgabe 1948–1971, vol. 12, p. 225f.
- “Among the romantic poets, none is as closely related to us Germans, none so completely German, either in the outer form of the plot or the inner spirit, as is he” (translation C.G.). Schlegel, Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe, vol. 11, p. 171.
- “I began to regret the days and hours which I had spent in London and reproached my irresolution a thousand times that I had not long since left this enormous dungeon in order to sojourn in some paradise” (translation C.G). Moritz, Reisen eines Deutschen in England 1785 (quoted here from Maurer, O Britannien 1992, p. 380).
- Pischke, Industrierevolution 1935; Schumacher, Auslandsreisen deutscher Unternehmer 1968, pp. 132–193; Kroker, Technologische Kenntnisse 1971; Braun, Technologische Beziehungen 1974.
- Frühsorge, Agrarrvolution und ökonomische Reise 1983.
- Wegner, Nach Albions Stränden 1994.
- Buchholz, Großbritannische Reiseeindrücke 1960.
- “The main character trait of the British is their entirely singular public spirit, a virtue so unknown in all other countries that there is no word for it in another living language. The word Nationalgeist only descries this noble British characteristic very incompletely. It is more the willingness, or the fervent efforts, of individuals to promote the common good” (translation C.G.). Archenholtz, England und Italien 1786, vol. 1, p. 165.
- “In despotic states, even the Enlightened individual, whether he be rich or poor, high- or low-born, is only occupied with his own sustenance; he can only make pious wishes for the rest of mankind and leave it to the mighty of this earth to realise them. The British, however, regardless of what kings do, get down to work” (translation C.G.). Archenholtz, Annalen der Brittischen Geschichte 1789, vol. 1, p. 193f.
- On Archenholtz’s analysis of the concept of freedom, see Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 191–193.
- “Oh, dear Friend, when one sees here how even the lowest barrowman shows his interest in what is happening, how the smallest child imbibes the spirit of the people, in short how everyone here displays his feeling that he is also a man and an Englishman, as good as his king and his minister, then one begins to feel very differently on seeing the soldiers parading at home in Berlin” (translation C.G.). Moritz, Reisen eines Deutschen in England 1785 (quoted here from Maurer, O Britannien 1992, p. 379).
- Moritz, Reisen eines Deutschen in England 1785 (Maurer, O Britannien 1992, p. 376); Wendeborn, Beyträge zur Kentniß Grosbritanniens 1780, p. 81f.
- Wendeborn, Beyträge zur Kentniß Grosbritanniens 1780, p. 13f. Wendeborn, Der Zustand des Staats 1785–1788, vol. 2, p. 253.
- Robson-Scott, German Travellers 1953; Maurer, O Britannien 1992 (above all the introduction on pp. 7–39).
- Stewart, Reisebeschreibung 1978.
- Volkmann, Neueste Reisen durch England 1781–1782.
- Aldcroft, Travelling Conditions 1983.
- Arnold, Wicked Lives 1985.
- Moritz, Reisen eines Deutschen in England 1785, passim.
- For more on this construct, see Wiedemann, Rom – Paris – London 1988.
- Moritz, Reisen eines Deutschen in England 1785, pp. 190–216.
- Wendeborn, Reise 1793, vol. 1, p. 5
- Maurer, Wales 2009; Maurer, Schottland 2007; Maurer, Das Andere des Anderen 2008.
- Büsch, Bemerkungen auf einer Reise 1786, pp. 100–107. Schopenhauer, Erinnerungen 1813–1817. On the contemporary debate on the conceptualisation of national characters, see Maurer, Nationalcharakter 1993 and Maurer, Nationalcharakter und Nationalbewußtsein 1996.
- “Among those foreigners who write about the English nation, the majority have – with a few exceptions – only spent a short time in London, often without being able to speak the English language. They have visited a few coffee and comedy houses as well as some unimportant parties, and now consider themselves able to write about a people whose manners and mentality are as little known to them as any other whose home they have only seen on a map” (translation C.G.).Wendeborn, Beyträge zur Kentniß Grosbritanniens 1780, p. 1f.
- Uffenbach, Merkwürdige Reisen 1753–1754, vol. 2, p. 443.
- Hassenkamp, Nachlaß Sophie von La Roche 1898, p. 502.
- Goethe, Hamburger Ausgabe 1948–1971, vol. 9, p. 122f. See also Schröder, Englischunterricht 1969.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, p. 88.
- For example, see Uffenbach, Merkwürdige Reisen 1753–1754, vol. 2, p. 453.
- La Roche, Herbsttage 1805, p. 1.
- Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 197–199.
- Oppel, Deutsch-englische Literaturbeziehungen 1971; Price, Englische Literatur in Deutschland 1961.
- Harris, Wirkung Fieldings 1960; Michelsen, Sterne 1962; Price, Richardson in Germany 1926.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, p. 123.
- “Thus, the English themselves do not embrace their most felicitous writings so actively or with such loyal warmth as do we Shakespeare, Milton, Addison, Swift, Thomson, Sterne, Hume, Robertson and Gibbon. Richardon’s three novels have enjoyed a golden period in Germany; Young’s Night Thoughts, Tom Jones, The Country Parson have given rise to sects in Germany; in English periodicals, we have even admired that which we did not understand, that which was not written for us. And who does not do honour to the Scotsmen Ferguson, Smith, Stewart, Millar and Blair?” (translation C.G.). Herder, Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 18, p. 207f.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, p. 117.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, pp. 120–131.
- Fabian, Die erste englische Buchhandlung 1994.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, pp. 132–156.
- Knabe, Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen 1978, p. 39.
- Blassneck, Frankreich als Vermittler 1934.
- Price, Holland as Mediator 1941.
- Haase, Refuge 1959.
- Stackelberg, Übersetzungen aus zweiter Hand 1984; Graeber / Roche, Englische Literatur 1988.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, p. 187f.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, p. 187f.
- Oz-Salzberger, Translating the Enlightenment 1995.
- Half of the translations were produced anonymously. For more on the translators known by name, see Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, pp. 215–254.
- Willenberg, Distribution und Übersetzung 2008, p. 176.
- Maurer, Aufklärung und Anglophilie 1987, pp. 207–215, 242–249.
- Braune, Burke in Deutschland 1917; Elsasser, Politische Bildungsreisen 1917; Mayer, England als politisches Vorbild 1931.
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