Chapter 5: Overhearing

There were numerous different ways I wanted to try to convey just how transnational the book market had become by the romantic period. As I say in the book: “if early-modern book culture was marked by a prominent sense of internationalism, romantic book culture by contrast could be understood as initiating a complementary element of transnationalism, of similar trends taking place across different national spaces. The diffusion of illustrative practices such as lithography or wood-end engraving, the vogue for gift-books, the popularity of collected editions or novella collections, the prominent role of translations, or even the fascination with ballads, bards and all things folkish (-tales, -lore, and -song) -- however much such bibliographic phenomena contributed to different nineteenth-century endeavors of nation-making, they were never limited to a single national space. Indeed it was their translatability that was in some sense one of their most definitive features.”

Devoting a chapter to translation was one way of identifying these movements, but charting the discourse of cosmopolitanism would be another (already done). Still another would be the location of popular promotion of literary culture as something inherently trans- or multinational as in this advertisement below.
As an advertisement argued in the back of the miscellany Der Wintergarten (1816), “chemical research” had shown that the German Geist was not “pure” but consisted of “Arabic jasmine,” “the juice of a Jewish cherry,” “Roman chamomile,” “Greek hellebore,” “French rose and a little violet,” “English sage,” and many more foreign ingredients.