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 Betreff des Beitrags: Germany seen by English eyes: Three Men on the Bummel
BeitragVerfasst: 25. Nov 2011, 18:20 
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About Jerome K. Jerome: "Three Men on the Bummel" :wiwi
Zitat:

Jerome's comic stereotypes of Germany and the German character have aged less well, yet provide some picture of the country during the period of the German Empire, at least how it was popularly perceived in Britain.

Generally, the country is portrayed as clean and orderly, yet heavily policed, with the authorities strictly enforcing even the most trivial of a vast number of laws and regulations (this causes the three men to frequently be in minor trouble with the law). The German people are described as amiable, unselfish, homely and kind yet also placid and obedient, eager to obey those in authority.

"The German citizen is a soldier, and the policeman is his officer. The policeman directs him where in the street to walk, and how fast to walk. At the end of each bridge stands a policeman to tell the German how to cross it. Were there no policeman there, he would probably sit down and wait till the river had passed by. At the railway station the policeman locks him up in the waiting-room, where he can do no harm to himself. When the proper time arrives, he fetches him out and hands him over to the guard of the train, who is only a policeman in another uniform. The guard tells him where to sit in the train, and when to get out, and sees that he does get out. In Germany you take no responsibility upon yourself whatever. Everything is done for you, and done well."
—Chapter XIV
Jerome goes on to comment that it would be consistent with the German character for a criminal condemned to death to be simply given a piece of rope, and told to go and hang himself.

The Englishmen spend some time in the company of students; Jerome describes German Student Corps and their customs of the Kneipe, an organized beer party, and the Mensur, or Academic fencing. The mensur sword duals are described at length, with little humour, and with Jerome expressing extreme disapproval for the tradition.

"As the object of each student is to go away from the University bearing as many scars as possible... The real victor is he who comes out with the greatest number of wounds; he who then, stitched and patched almost to unrecognition as a human being, can promenade for the next month, the envy of the German youth, the admiration of the German maiden. He who obtains only a few unimportant wounds retires sulky and disappointed....These young German gentlemen could obtain all the results of which they are so proud by teasing a wild cat! To join a society for the mere purpose of getting yourself hacked about reduces a man to the intellectual level of a dancing Dervish [sic]."
—Chapter XIII
Jerome would have been aware of Mark Twain's humorous travelogue, A Tramp Abroad (1880), based on a walking tour through similar parts of Germany, with extensive comments on the language and culture. Three Men on the Bummel follows in this vein. At least one of Jerome's remarks, however, is remarkably prescient:

"Hitherto, the German has had the blessed fortune to be exceptionally well governed; if this continue, it will go well with him. When his troubles will begin will be when by any chance something goes wrong with the governing machine.
—Chapter XIV



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 Betreff des Beitrags: Re: Germany seen by English eyes: Three Men on the Bummel
BeitragVerfasst: 14. Sep 2014, 20:33 
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This book still makes good reading! :thumbsup

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