In the Shadow of Olympus

German Women Writers Around 1800

Edited by Katherine R. Goodman & Edith Waldstein

Series: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Paperback : 9780791407448, 264 pages, January 1992
Hardcover : 9780791407431, 264 pages, February 1992

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Marianne Hirsch, Ruth Perry, and Virginia Swain

1. Introduction
Katherine R. Goodman and Edith Waldstein

2. The Beautiful Soul Writes Herself: Friederike Helene Unger and the "Große Gothe"
Susanne Zantop

3. Turns of Emancipation: On Rahel Varnhagen's Letters
Liliane Weissberg

4. The Sign Speaks: Charlotte von Stein's Matinees
Katherine R. Goodman

5. Goethe and Beyond: Bettine von Arnim's Correspondence with a Child and Gunderode
Edith Waldstein

6. Caroline Schlegel-Schelling: "A Good Woman, and No Heroine"
Sara Friedrichsmeyer

7. Marriage by the Book: Matrimony, Divorce, and Single Life in Therese Huber's Life and Works
Jeannine Blackwell

8. Escape to America: Social Reality and Utopian Schemes in German Women's Novels Around 1800
Ute Brandes

9. Reconstructing Women's Literary Relationships: Sophie Albrecht and Female Friendship
Ruth P. Dawson

10. The Vanished Woman of Great Influence: Benedikte Naubert's Legacy and German Women's Fairy Tales
Shawn C. Jarvis

Appendix: Sophie Albrecht's Correspondence with Identified Women






This anthology represents the first sustained feminist examination of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century German women writers in English. These essays highlight the literature produced by German women in the period 1790-1810, framing the discussions with a comparative orientation. The book analyzes in culturally specific detail how these authors came to constitute the first generation of writing women in Germany at a time when Goethe set the standard for literary production. Each essay focuses on the ambivalence of the author(s) toward literary and social models. The authors treated include Rahel Varnhagen, Charlotte von Stein, Friederike Helene Unger, Bettine von Arnim, Caroline Schlegel-Schelling, Sophie Albrecht, Therese Huber, Sophie Mereau, Sophie von La Roche, Henriette Frolich, and Benedikte Naubert.

Katherine R. Goodman is Associate Professor of German at Brown University. Edith Waldstein is Associate Professor of Humanities at Wartburg College.


"This is a detailed and competent account of German women writers around 1800, the first of this kind in English; it offers a wealth of information about the cultural background and conditions and good analyses of selected literary works. It is written in a clear style and is often vivid and interesting; it discusses in a sober, critical form a good number of issues of feminist scholarship.

"The classical period of German literature has been considered the 'period of Goethe,' and the enormous diversity and richness of the period has been suppressed. One of the significant aspects is the emergence of a somewhat educated female readership and of the first professional women: educators, writers, actresses, theatre directors, journal editors. The book contains a good deal of information about this previously mostly forgotten or neglected group. " — Wulf Koepke, Texas A & M University

"There is a good balance here between established scholars and quite new scholars. This group represents an emerging trend in 'German-American Germanist Feminism'—a growing group who often publish in German. It is essential that colleagues in other disciplines have feminist scholarship available to them in a language they can read. " — Ruth-Ellen B. Joeres, university of Minnesota, Twin Cities