Nineteenth-Century German Travellers to Wales: Text, Translation and the Manipulation of Identity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

The nineteenth century saw a steady stream of German travellers to the British Isles. A number of these made their way, intentionally or otherwise, to Wales where they found themselves confronted with an unexpectedly foreign culture. The resultant travelogues, written by figures such as Christian August Gottlieb Goede, Hermann von Pückler Muskau, Johann Georg Kohl and Julius Rodenberg, are significant for their engagement with both the anticipated hegemonic culture (England) and an often unknown and unexpected minority culture (Wales). The intercultural dialogue underpinning this is further developed through the translation of these texts into English, not only as examples for a British reader of how the German eye/I travelled to the British Isles, but also of how mostly English-based translators and publishers dealt with the German reading of Wales as a peripheral nation. After framing these texts in their broader context, this chapter will explore the perceptions of both the travellers and their translators, focusing on what became the acknowledged role of the German intellectual as an arbiter of taste and cultural mediator. In the case of the travellers, I will explore their self-perception as Germans abroad interpreting the British Isles for their readers; in the case of the translators, I will focus on the exploitation of the German worldview to validate a very British, or rather, English sense of Self. What emerges is a symbiotic relationship between travellers and translators which validates the hegemonic power base (England / ‘Germany’), at the expense of the minority (Wales). I will also explore the extent to which author and translator wittingly or otherwise reinforce the stereotypes pertaining to their respective cultures in the global context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGerman and the World
PublisherBoydell & Brewer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
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