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Introduction to Mysteries of New Orleans

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1 Introduction to Mysteries of New Orleans
German immigration and German fiction in Early America

2 German immigration to Colonial America (the British colonies)
i. Estimated 84, 500 Germans arrived in the British colonies in North America between 1700 and 1775 ii. Only surpassed in numbers by African slaves brought to the colonies

3 German immigration to Colonial America (the British colonies)
Historian Aaron Fogleman distinguishes different waves during the 18th century: : small, well-organized radical Pietist groups fleeing religious persecution; many of them going to Pennsylvania : motivated by agricultural disaster and threats of war with France, thousands of Germans from the Southwest flee to New York and North Carolina; hoped that Queen Ann would provide free passage and land in America (known as the so-called “Palatines”) : largest contingent of German-speaking immigrants; most of them were “church-people,” i.e. not radical Protestants but members of the Lutheran and Reformed Church; most of them came for economic, not religious reasons; main ports of entry became Philadelphia and New York; redemptioner system and conditions on immigrant ships

4 German immigration to Colonial America (the British colonies)
i. Overflow of immigrants who later came to Pennsylvania settled in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia, especially the Shenandoah Valley ii. Also: significant German settlements in North Carolina (Moravians of Wachovia, Salem, and Salisbury), South Carolina and Georgia (Ebenezer, Georgia)

5 German immigration to Colonial America (the British colonies)

6 German culture in the British colonies
o Vibrant German language settlements and cultural life o Literature: dominantly concerned with religious and moral topics, rights of German immigrants, politics, community building etc. o Establishment of German schools, particularly by churches o Flourishing print culture, especially newspapers and periodicals; e.g. Heinrich Müller’s Der Pennsylvanische Staatsbote was the first paper to print the Declaration of Independence in a language other than English

7 German Immigration to New Orleans/Mississippi Valley
1. often neglected; received much less attention than immigration through East Coast ports 2. first German immigrants arrived within four years of the founding of New Orleans in 1718 3. immigrants to Louisiana found terrible conditions on “German Pest Ships” and many of them died during the passage 4. survivors settled in the area that became known as the “German Coast” (Cote de Allemands) 5. many of these early immigrants eventually intermarried with Acadian families and became subsumed in it

8 German Immigration to New Orleans/Mississippi Valley
three waves of immigration 1) resulting from famine and the effects of the Napoleonic wars came between 1820 and 1850 mostly peasants who came to work on plantations

9 German Immigration to New Orleans/Mississippi Valley
2) Mid-century immigrants, the “48ers” 1. fleeing persecution after the failed 1848 revolution that shook most German states and was suppressed by territorial rulers 2. In 1853, the year when Reizenstein wrote and began to publish his Mysteries, 53,000 German-speaking immigrants arrived in New Orleans alone 3. many of them left N.O. for other states up the Mississippi (e.g. Missouri, especially St. Louis), but by mid-century, about 25,000 Germans lived in the state of Louisiana 4. thus: immigrants were often intellectuals and professionals, including physicians, lawyers, engineers, etc. 5. helped greatly the physical and cultural improvement of New Orleans before the civil war 6. also: introduction of German music, architecture, and art; established numerous breweries, theaters, newspapers etc. 7. also: contributed to the city’s waterworks and city streets

10 German Immigration to New Orleans/Mississippi Valley
3) Third Wave: about s mostly industrial workers almost 3 million German immigrants entered the United States during this period; New Orleans was the initial stop for many of those immigrants

11 German Immigration to New Orleans/Mississippi Valley
colonial immigrants and their descendants had assimilated or formed a hybrid culture by the beginning of the 19th century new German immigrants in the 19th century often founded separate German communities, especially in the mid-West, which maintained a German character until the early 20th century hope among German nationalist immigrants to America to establish an exclusively German colony in America, especially in Texas in larger cities, German immigrants often formed “little Germanies,” where they clustered together and established hubs of social, cultural, business, and political life e.g. in New Orleans, St. Louis, and Cincinnati during the 19th century

12 German-American Literature in the 19th century
Friedrich Gerstäcker: o restless traveler and explorer o writing about the American frontier in the early 19th century o produced over 150 volumes o American writings:  The Regulators in Arkansas  The Pirates on the Mississippi  Scouting and Hunting in the United States

13 German-American Literature in the 19th century
Gottfried Duden: Published a glowing report about life in the mid-west in 1829, entitled Bericht über eine Reise nach den westlichen Staaten Nordamerikas Induced many Germans to emigrate to America Was criticized for his glowing report and had to qualify some of his statements

14 German-American Literature in the 19th century
Charles Sealsfield: published many novels, especially ethnographic ones published in German and English was born Karl Postl in 1793, died in 1864 entered a monastery but fled to America in 1822 changed his name and traveled widely through Louisiana and Texas tried to establish a farm including slaves but when his finances failed he became in a writer, living and working in New York his novels describe various human and social types of America during the 1820s-1840s often called a German James Fenimore Cooper his accounts are colored by enthusiastic appreciation of American landscape, liberty, and institutions fond of historical novels and deeply indebted to Sir Walter Scott Examples of novels: Tokeah, or the White Rose Published in English in 1828 Depicts struggle between advancing settlers and Indians Süden und Norden (1842) Depicts exotic world of Mexico

15 The “Mysteries” Genre and the German-American Novel
1845, George Lippard (a second generation German American) published the widely successful Gothic novel The Quaker City, or the Monks of Monk Hall (sold 60,000 copies the first year) followed the French “Mysteries” model established by Eugene Sue in his Mysteries of Paris and The Wandering Jew became wildly popular in Germany with ten translations by 1844 also: influenced by English gothic tradition, especially Lewis’s The Monk: A Romance Friedrich Gerstäcker translated Lippard’s book into German, in which it also became widely successful Showed the underside of the “city of brotherly love” first German-language use of that genre is Die Geheimnisse von Philadelphia (The Mysteries of New Orleans), published in 1850 later examples: Heinrich Börnstein, The Mysteries of New Orleans (1851) Emil Klauprecht, Cincinnati, oder Geheimnisse des Westens

16 The “Mysteries” Genre and the German-American Novel
always published in newspaper columns over long period to boost subscription or sale of the papers (this may explain the wandering structure of Reizenstein’s book) a well-known city displayed as a sinister place in which events are steered by forces beyond the control of ordinary mortals (See Stephen Rowan) real persons interacting with fictional characters social interactions steered by invisible institutions and persons (e.g. the freemasons) princes and criminals have more in common than meets the eye backdrop of genuine buildings, persons, history, context, etc. German writers particularly attuned to the ethnic diversity of American cities Sympathy for slaves and Native Americans

17 German-American Novels responding to Slavery
Friedrich Armand Strubberg ( ) trilogy Sclaverei in Amerika, oder: Schwartzes Blut (1862) three parts: Die Quadrone, Die Mulattin, Die Negerin in each novel appears the same type of heroine but with a different shade of color she is repeatedly exposed to the conflict between love and slavery, confronted with men who are either racists or liberals, and always ends up triumphing over adverse circumstances or escaping to Europe with her beloved who has been converted to abolitionism Ferdinand Kürnberger, Der Amerika-Müde (1855) (The Man who became Weary of America) growing German disillusionment with America and response to German-American literary praises of America in the 1830s and 1840s

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