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Coming Out Swiss

Cover of Coming Out Swiss

Coming Out Swiss

In Search of Heidi, Chocolate, and My Other Life
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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.

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.

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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

    Acknowledgments

     

    Prologue: Open Secrets

     

    Swissness: Keynotes

    Chocolate

    Gold

     

    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

    Basel

     

    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"

     

    Bibliography

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    University of Wisconsin Press
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Coming Out Swiss
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In Search of Heidi, Chocolate, and My Other Life
Anne Herrmann
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