Nationalism and the Reception of Jacob Grimm's Deutsche Grammatik by English-Speaking Audiences

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Abstract

Grimm ‘arrived’ in Britain in the 1830s, more than a decade after his pioneering insights into the nature of language first appeared in the Deutsche Grammatik. This essay offers a comprehensive survey of Grimm's British reception to determine why, and in what ways, the German grammarian's theories permeated British-speaking consciousness at this particular historical juncture. It is especially concerned to relate Grimm to a fundamental shift that occurred in popular and scholarly perceptions of language in Britain in the 1830s and early 1840s, when the status of English changed from that of poor cousin to Latin and Greek, to equal sibling with the classical tongues. The nationalistic uses and misuses of Grimm in this process of revision will be drawn into sharp focus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-252
Number of pages19
JournalGerman Life and Letters
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2001

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