Synopses & Reviews
Since Germany became a colonial power relatively late, postcolonial theorists and histories of colonialism have thus far paid little attention to it. Uncovering Germanyandrsquo;s colonial legacy and imagination, Susanne Zantop reveals the significance of colonial fantasiesandmdash;a kind of colonialism without coloniesandmdash;in the formation of German national identity. Through readings of historical, anthropological, literary, and popular texts, Zantop explores imaginary colonial encounters of andquot;Germansandquot; with andquot;nativesandquot; in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century literature, and shows how these colonial fantasies acted as a rehearsal for actual colonial ventures in Africa, South America, and the Pacific.
From as early as the sixteenth century, Germans preoccupied themselves with an imaginary drive for colonial conquest and possession that eventually grew into a collective obsession. Zantop illustrates the gendered character of Germanyandrsquo;s colonial imagination through critical readings of popular novels, plays, and travel literature that imagine sexual conquest and surrender in colonial territoryandmdash;or love and blissful domestic relations between colonizer and colonized. She looks at scientific articles, philosophical essays, and political pamphlets that helped create a racist colonial discourse and demonstrates that from its earliest manifestations, the German colonial imagination contained ideas about a specifically German national identity, different from, if not superior to, most others.
andldquo;Susanne Zantop has already established herself as one of the leading scholars in eighteenth and nineteenth-century German literature and culture, and it is no surprise that her long-awaited book is so compelling. Her historically informed study of German fantasies. . . breaks new ground at the intersections of literature, philosophy, and the andlsquo;political unconsciousandrsquo;.andrdquo;andmdash;W. Daniel Wilson, University of California
andldquo;Colonial Fantasies is an excellent contribution to the understanding of German colonialism and its representational regimes.andrdquo;andmdash;John K. Noyes, University of Cape Town
Traces German desires to discover, conquer and dominate ‘new worlds’ -- real and imagined-- expressed in stories and literature during the century preceding any actual German colonization.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -285) and index.
About the Author
At the time of her death, Susanne Zantop was Professor of German and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of German Studies at Dartmouth College.