We may want to try online postings to preview presentations or to share responses. Let's see if this space works.
Welcome to the Exile Cultures "collaboratory." This has grown out of the NEH summer seminar on "German Exile Culture in California: European Traditions and American Modernity," which explored the exile experience of refugees from Hitler's Germany. This space is designed first of all to continue the seminar discussions and to allow for the participants to share their follow-up work. I will also be inviting the participants in a previous version of the seminar, which took place in 2006.
These two texts could be seen as sort of framing the time period at stake. In "German Republic," a speech of 1922, Mann, previously a prominent conservative, came out in defense of the young Weimar Republic. He did so with a rhetorical device: finding compatibility between the notionally very German figure of Novalis (the romantic author Friedrich von Hardenberg) and the icon of American democracy Walt Whitman. If Novalis could be seen as akin to Whitman, then (so the argument) Germans could become comfortable with democracy.