History ETDs

Author

John Kemp

Publication Date

7-12-2014

Abstract

Bayard Taylor was a nineteenth-century American writer, traveler, lecturer, and diplomat well-known in his lifetime. Although active in many areas, he acquired fame chiefly through his adventures as a globetrotting news correspondent to exotic non-western regions at a time in which the United States was becoming aware of itself as a nation in a global context. In the process, his travels and representations of foreign lands contributed to the formation of nineteenth-century American national identity. Taylors American identity defined who he and his American readers were and also informed what and how he observed societies and cultures in his travel writings. His travel-related writings on and connection to German-speaking Central Europe from1844-1878 are of particular interest in relation to his American identity. Although typical in his male Euro-American views, Taylor gained a reputation as a transatlantic figure through frequent contact with Europe as part of his American traveler image. This dissertation examines one prominent feature of Taylor's transatlantic persona — his place as an American everyman inside Germany who believed that the United States and Europe shared a common heritage and thereby recognized similarities and made connections with German activities and developments in his travel-related writings and representations in ways that illuminated layers of his American national identity. Taylor's individual American encounter with German society, culture, and politics at a time of momentous change for both Germany and the United States is historically significant because it is inscribed within and, in a conspicuous way, touches many contact points of the broader German-American encounter during the nineteenth century. In the process, his representations reflected how Americans imagined themselves as a nation from a transatlantic perspective.

Level of Degree

Doctoral

Degree Name

History

Department Name

History

First Advisor

Bokovoy, Melissa

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ferguson, Eliza

Second Committee Member

Connell-Szasz, Margaret

Third Committee Member

White, Peter

Language

English

Document Type

Dissertation

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