The Shaping of German Identity

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April 2012



German identity, a key force in history, took shape during the late Middle Ages. This book explains how and why.


Introduction: German questions; 1. Modern history: inventing the medieval German nation; 2. Ruled out: monarchy, government and 'state' in Germany; 3. Realm of imagination: communicating power after the Hohenstaufen; 4. Shades of a kingdom: in search of a German political community; 5. The matter of Rome: universalising political identities; 6. Roman empire, German nation: the German imperial tradition; 7. Trojans, Giants and other Germans: peoplehoods forgotten, remembered and relocated; 8. Rome's Barbarians: accounting for the Germans; 9. East: applying identities; 10. Being German (I): place and name; 11. Being German (II): language and locality; Conclusion: endings and beginnings; Bibliography.


Len Scales is a Lecturer in the Department of History at Durham University. He has published widely both on late medieval German history and on the history of peoples and nations in medieval Europe. He is the editor (with Oliver Zimmer) of Power and the Nation in European History (Cambridge University Press, 2005).


Advance praise: 'This is a lucid and incisive analysis of late medieval German identity in its wider European context. Based on an impressive command of the sources, Len Scales argues that the very weakness of monarchy within the Holy Roman Empire accounts for the relative strength of national sentiment. His conclusions transform how we see the origins of modern European nations.' Peter H. Wilson, University of Hull 'In his well investigated and broadly conceived study, Len Scales identifies a burgeoning sense of German identity in those lands directly north of the Alps between the deposition of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II in 1245 and the beginning of the Church Council of Constance in 1414. He draws on a wide range of historical, and to some extent also literary and didactic texts, and certainly confirms the development of an ever growing discourse on Germanness during the late Middle Ages.' Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona 'This eagerly-awaited and richly learned book explores the delicate question of German national identity in the later middle ages. With subtlety and clarity, Len Scales shows how the curiosities of Germany's imperial monarchy were no obstacle to the cultivation of national consciousness in this complex and under-studied period; his textured portrayal of German political culture will benefit not only scholars of medieval history but anyone interested in questions of nationhood.' John Watts, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
EAN: 9780521573337
ISBN: 0521573335
Untertitel: Authority and Crisis, 1245-1414. 4 maps 1 table. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Cambridge University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2012
Seitenanzahl: 636 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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