From Göttingen to Galveston: Travel Writing and German Migration to Texas, 1830-1848

Haas, Astrid orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8628-8129 (2016) From Göttingen to Galveston: Travel Writing and German Migration to Texas, 1830-1848. In: Migration in Context: Literature, Culture and Language. Aisthesis Verlag, Bielefeld, pp. 135-151. ISBN 978-3-8498-1190-7

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The present essay provides an analysis of German travel writing about Texas during the mid-nineteenth century. Nineteenth-century North America witnessed the proliferation of texts about factual or fictional journeys for the purpose of either promoting or discouraging emigration from the writers’ own homelands to the sparsely inhabited regions of the North American West. German travel writing about Texas from the mid-nineteenth century provides a telling case in point, as Germans not only visited and migrated to the area in large numbers but also penned a large body of narrative texts, above all works of travel writing. These texts offer a unique insight into the push and pull factors that drove so many Germans from their native lands to Texas as well as the impact of travel texts on their movement. Against the backdrop of German migration to Texas during the 1830s and '40s, the essay undertakes a critical close reading of three major German travel accounts from the period. It specifically looks at how these works construct Texas with particular regard to their role in shaping German emigration to the area and the strategies they employed to make their case and spread the word.

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