Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Germanic Languages and Literatures


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 4-23-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Lynne Tatlock


This project brings together the domestic world of young adult reading with the foreign world of international travel that informed German experience at the end of the nineteenth century. By uniting these two ostensibly disparate realms under one interpretive frame, I offer a new perspective on the theory and practice of young-adult reading at the turn of the last century and the role this reading about travel played in the development of sense of self and sense of place within a national body.

My analysis reads specific youth literature about travel: Brigitte Augusti, Friedrich Pajeken) against depictions of youth reading about the wider world in the now-canonical texts of Realism: Wilhelm Raabe). I find two simultaneously existing, yet, contradictory strands of discourse that resonate even today: On the one hand, an exuberance for newfound mobility in a now-global world and its endless possibilities; on the other, a skepticism about the potential of mobility to solve the world's problems. I examine how these tensions interact through diverse models of pedagogy portrayed in and as texts and map reading and travel within discourses about young people's integration into an adult world.

Through historical study and literary interpretation of cultural production of the 1880s and 1890s, this project ultimately seeks broad insights into the pedagogical and psychological value of the intersections of travel and reading, and, in doing so, attempts to answer some of the enduring questions central to our mission as scholars and teachers of foreign language and culture within the humanities.


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