Black Devil and Iron Angel: The Railway in Nineteenth-Century German Realism

Youngman, Paul A.

Published by The Catholic University of America Press
ISBN 10: 0813214165 / ISBN 13: 9780813214160
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Black Devil and Iron Angel examines how the railway was received and represented by a variety of nineteenth-century German and Austrian realist authors including Berthold Auerbach, Theodor Fontane, and Gerhart Hauptmann. This book is a compelling, focused analysis of the point at which mythology and technology merge, signifying the composition of a larger narrative desired by human beings to gain some sense of control over a world in which they have little power--a problem not by any means confined to German-speaking lands.



Using Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's seminal work on the dialectical nature of the Enlightenment as a framework, Youngman makes the original claim that realist authors are a particularly rich source in which to study the intersection of technology and mythology. Authors of nineteenth-century literature often introduced scientific ideas and technological developments in order to bolster the claim that what they write is "real" and therefore represents "truth." In doing so, however, they often fail to divorce these developments from myth. They either couch the train and its associated technologies, for example, in mythological terms, or show how these technologies begin to create their own myths.



In his emphasis on the legitimacy of both scientific and non-scientific approaches to understanding, Youngman follows the lead of Charles Percy Snow, who, in the mid-twentieth century, identified what he considered a dangerous rift between literary intellectuals on the one hand and scientists on the other. In order to prevent the establishment of two distinct cultures incapable of communicating with one another, he admonished intellectuals to establish a "third culture," a culture bridging the gap between the techno-scientific realm and the mytho-literary realm. Youngman's work is intended as a contribution to what has become known as Third-Culture Studies.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Paul A. Youngman is assistant professor of German at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.



PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:



"The author cites numerous examples of the railway as a symbol of technology and myth, with the two often merging. Excursions into the history of the German railway, vignettes of an antique steam locomotive at the beginning of each chapter, and English translations of all quotations enhance the attractiveness of this volume to a wide readership."--J. K. Fugate, Choice



"Youngman makes an important contribution to our understanding of realism by showing the continuity between technology and mythology. He combines meticulous scholarship with stimulating, provocative ideas."--Lilian R. Furst, Marcel Bataillon Professor of Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



"This book covers its topic better than any I have seen. Youngman's treatment of literature in the age of the railway will fascinate specialists and non-specialists alike, who, in chapter after chapter, will find themselves rethinking many of their assumptions, not only about the relationship of technology to literature, but also about nineteenth-century literature more generally."--Peter McIsaac, Duke University



"Youngman places himself right in the center of the debates surrounding German realism and 19th century thought.... He offers a combination of excellent literary interpretations with carefully argued and well-presented theoretical insights."--Peter C. Pfeiffer, Georgetown University



"[There is a] disciplined interpretation of textual details in this stimulating, well-informed study." -- Jeffrey Sammons, German Studies Review



"This monograph presents a valuable contribution to third-culture studies.... [T]he term "third culture" more widely refers to the triangle of science-arts-technology, in which technology represents the third, bridging culture between the othe

About the Author: Paul A. Youngman is assistant professor of German at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

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Title: Black Devil and Iron Angel: The Railway in ...
Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press

Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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