Golo Maurer: Arcadia? Longing for Italy Facets of a German fixation


Type of book: Hardcover

Number of pages: 88

Pictures: 49

Size: 21.9 x 15.6 cm

ISBN: 978-3-947313-04-4

Published on: December 12, 2019

SKU: EF009

24.90 incl. VAT.

Item number: EF009 Categories: , Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Delivery times: in stock, delivery time 1-3 working days*


Arcadia? With a question mark? That needs to be explained briefly, after all, we are talking about the undisputed land of longing for Germans. There have always been critical voices
sometimes prominent ones: from Johann Gottfried Herder (in Italy in 1788/89) to Rolf Dieter Brinkmann in the 1970s. Criticism of Italy could almost be considered a leitmotif of German intellectual history.
And yet these cultural heretics remained a minority, some of whom were so fiercely opposed that Gustav Nicolai, probably the most famous critic of Italy, felt compelled to take legal action against reviewers of his 1834 book Italien, wie es wirklich ist. The cultural historian Victor Hehn wrote about this a few years later: "Nicolai, however, has become truly notorious among us because he dared to touch the German temple treasure."
This image aptly describes the significance of Italy for the Germans right into the 20th century: Italy as the German Ark of the Covenant, as a symbol of their common cultural identity. Anyone who rails against Italy is touching the foundations of this community.

This book is not about maligning Italy in any way, on the contrary. Rather, it is the Germans and their sometimes somewhat peculiar attitude towards this country that deserve critical consideration. What did they want from Italy and the Italians for so long? What was lost or sought there, and what was found? And: What did "Italy", i.e. the Italy imagined, dreamed of and experienced by the Germans, do to them, what did it make of them? The period in question is the core century of German Italy fever, which roughly extends from Goethe's journey in 1786 to the founding of the German Empire in 1871, with a few glimpses into the 20th century.

Golo Maurer (* 1971 in Munich) is head librarian at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome (Max Planck Institute for Art History) and teaches as a private lecturer at the University of Vienna.
at the University of Vienna. After studying art history, classical archaeology and medieval history in Munich, where he received his doctorate in 2003, he spent several years in Italy at the Bibliotheca Hertziana and at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Previously published on the subject:
- Prussia at the Tarpeian Rock - Chronicle of a foreseeable fall. The
History of the German Capitol in Rome 1817-1918, Regensburg 2005.
- Italy as experience and imagination. The perception of landscape by German
artists and travelers 1760-1870, Regensburg 2015.


  • Edition Fichter, Frankfurt am Main 2019
  • Hardcover
  • 88 pages with 49 illustrations
  • 21.9 x 15.6 cm; 0.340 kg

Additional information

Weight 0.340 kg









Publication date

December 12, 2019

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