Coming Out Swiss: In Search of Heidi, Chocolate, and My Other Life

Coming Out Swiss: In Search of Heidi, Chocolate, and My Other Life

by Anne Herrmann


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Anne Herrmann, a dual citizen born in New York to Swiss parents, offers in Coming Out Swiss a witty, profound, and ultimately universal exploration of identity and community. “Swissness”—even on its native soil a loose confederacy, divided by multiple languages, nationalities, religion, and alpen geography—becomes in the diaspora both nowhere (except in the minds of immigrants and their children) and everywhere, reflected in pervasive clichés.
            In a work that is part memoir, part history and travelogue, Herrmann explores all our Swiss clichés (chocolate, secret bank accounts, Heidi, Nazi gold, neutrality, mountains, Swiss Family Robinson) and also scrutinizes topics that may surprise (the “invention” of the Alps, the English Colony in Davos, Switzerland’s role during World War II, women students at the University of Zurich in the 1870s). She ponders, as well, marks of Swissness that have lost their identity in the diaspora (Sutter Home, Helvetica, Dadaism) and the enduring Swiss American community of New Glarus, Wisconsin. Coming Out Swiss will appeal not just to the Swiss diaspora but also to those drawn to multi-genre writing that blurs boundaries between the personal and the historical.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299298401
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Edition description: 1
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 1,118,861
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Anne Herrmann is professor emerita of English and women’s studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of four books, including The Dialogic and Difference: An/Other Woman in Virginia Woolf and Christa Wolf and Queering the Moderns: Poses/Portraits/Performances.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: Open Secrets
Swissness: Keynotes
Swissness: Keywords
Heimweh, or Homesickness
Fernweh, or “Farsickness”
The Mountains
The Alp(s)
Davos, or “How the English Invented the Alps”
The City: Public Histories
“Athens on the Limmat”: “A True History That Never Happened”
Dada in Zurich, Continued
The City: Personal Histories
Freiestrasse 103, Zu¨rich
Swiss Colonies in America
Nueva Helvetia, California (1839): “An Area as Vast as the Little Canton of Basle”
New Glarus, Wisconsin (1845): “Switzerland’s Tiniest, Most Distant Canton”
Americanizing Swiss Stories
Swiss Family Robinson (1812); or, “The Most Famous Robinsonade”
Heidi (1880): “Switzerland’s Most Famous Girl”
Epilogue: “I’m Swiss”

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