Et in Arcadia – mulier? Italienrepräsentationen deutschsprachiger Autorinnendes 18. bis 20. Jahrhunderts (textual representations of Italy by German-speaking women writers between the late 18th and 20th centuries)
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Germany and Italy are linked by a rich and complex matrix of political, religious, commercial and artistic ties spanning millennia. These have resulted in innumerable textual representations of Italy in the German-speaking realm. With his “Italienische Reise” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) provided a new narrative framework which was seen as the prevalent model of perceiving and writing about Italy for more than 200 years. The intricate network of connections between the two countries, fiction alisations of the south and the intertextual relationship between these writings have long been established as an important area of research. This thesis aims to evaluate how German-speaking women participated in the construc tion of Italy by examining selected texts by women as diverse as Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1739–1807) and her lady-in-waiting Luise von Göchhausen (1752–1807), Friederike Brun (1765–1835), Malwida von Meysenbug (1816–1903), Auguste Supper (1867–1951), Louise Diel (1893–1967) and Ingeborg Bachmann (1926– 1973). Based on findings on the social, political, and individual circumstances in which these female authors produced their works, the study scrutinizes to what extent and how these women responded to the supposedly overwhelming presence of Goethe’s “Italian experience”. It also aims to identify strategies in creating discursive representations of the Mediterranean space between the late eighteenth and late twentieth century whilst analysing individual and social functionalisation and exploring how notions of national, cultural, and gender identity are negotiated in these texts.