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Literary Criticism General

The Politics of Cultural Mediation

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and Felix Paul Greve

edited by Paul Hjartarson & Tracy Kulba-Gibbons

The University of Alberta Press, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée
Initial publish date
May 2003
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    Publish Date
    May 2003
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This collection of essays explores the contact zones produced by the migrations of two German-born cultural figures: New York Dada poet and artist Else Plötz (1874-1927), better known as Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven; and writer and translator Felix Paul Greve (1879-1948), known in Canada as Frederick Philip Grove. Features contributions by Richard Cavell, Jutta Ernst, Irene Gammel, Paul Hjartarson, Klaus Martens and Paul Morris and includes Morris's translation of Greve's "Randarabesken Zu Oscar Wilde."

About the authors

Paul Hjartarson is Professor Emeritus in English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, where he leads the Editing Modernism in Canada research group. His scholarly work is on life-writing, Canadian literature, modernism, print culture and the digital humanities. His most recent book, co-authored with Shirley Neuman, is The Thinking Heart: The Literary Archive of Wilfred Watson (2014). Until his retirement, Paul Hjartarson was a Professor of English at the University of Alberta and has published on both Baroness Elsa and Frederick Philip Grove.

Paul Hjartarson's profile page

Tracy Kulba is a SSHRCC Doctoral Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Alberta. She lives in Edmonton.

Tracy Kulba-Gibbons' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"After the useful introduction by the editors elaborating on the concept of cultural mediation by making use of contemporary practitioners such as Salman Rushdie, the book consists of three parts, each of them offering different facets of the act of 'bearing' culture across boundaries and of 'being borne' across cultures. The first and second parts focus on the Baroness and FPG respectively in the context of cultural mediation in Europe and North America, and the third one consists of a key text on cultural mediation by Greve himself....[T]his is a very important and highly readable publication that will revive general interest in the writing of Grove, which still offers a rich field of historical and literary investigation, and especially in the fascinating life and work of the Baroness." University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 1, Winter 2004/5

"The most refreshing addition to the complex picture of FPG is, in my eyes, Paul Hjartason's 'Out of the Wastage of All Other Nations', which contextualises the German immigrant's standing and fashioning of a new ethnic identity in the politically unstable, increasingly racist 1920s Manitoba. For his English translation of Greve's crucially self-revealing treatise, 'Randarabesden zu Oscar Wilde' ('Marginalia in Arabesque'), Morris deserves praise, for being modern, yet skillfully faithful to the original spirit. Virtually unavailable for a century, the inclusion and translation of this 1903 document represents this collection's main attraction." Markus M. Müller, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, November 1, 2005

"This handsome volume offers a systematic and coherent examination of cultural mediation that draws on contemporary critical theory as well as on the philosophical and aesthetic concepts of the nineteenth century relevant to the two "cultural mediators" on whom it is centred....Paul Hjartarson's account of the socio-historical context in which Grove found himself on coming to Canada and how it manifested itself not only in Grove's novels but also in his personal life is nothing short of a documentary tour de force....This book represents an important expansion of the debate on cultural mediation launched by Klaus Martens in a preceding volume titled Pioneering North America: Mediators of European Literature and Culture. Its significance for postcolonial theory and research goes well beyond the life and works of the figures who constitute its thematic focus." Rosmarin Heidenreich, Canadian Literature 184, Spring 2005

"You can see why critics and scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have been taking greater interest in the lives of Felix Paul Greve and the baroness. Individually and together, the two of them moved back and forth across borders certainly but also across lines of personal identity, including those related to gender studies, the biggest growth industry in academia the past few years....[The Politics of Cultural Mediation] includes work by Irene Gammel and one of Canada's most dynamic, prolific and wide-ranging literary scholars, Richard Cavell of the University of B.C." George Fetherling, The New Brunswick Reader, article reprinted in The Vancouver Sun

"Artists Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927) and Felix Paul Greve (1879-1948) were "cultural migrants" who, moving from German to North American contexts, both mediated and were mediated by social and institutional forces of their different worlds. Six papers, in the words of editors Hjartarson and Kulba (respectively a professor and doctoral fellow in the department of English, U. of Alberta, Canada), "interrogate the contact zone of cultures" as modes of cultural mediationmediation as translation, as migration, and within a social-institutional apparatus. Also included is an essay by Greve on the works of Oscar Wilde, presented in English translation and in its original German." BOOK NEWS Inc.

"Baroness Elsa and Felix Paul Greve were given to gender play, disguise, and challenges to identity that mark them as inevitably avant-garde. Wherever these sometime lovers moved, something hovered in the landscape with them, so that nothing was and will be wholly clear. Is this not, however, their true legacy, to be always slipping away from our and their desiring grasp?" E.D. Blodgett

"Documents, such as photographs, facsimiles of correspondence, newspapers, and copies of artwork, enrich the text and round out this distinguished collection." Anne Burke, The Prairie Journal.

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