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Women of the Teutonic Nations   By: (1861-1926)

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WOMAN

VOLUME VIII

WOMEN OF THE TEUTONIC NATIONS

HERMANN SCHOENFELD, PH.D., LL. D. PROFESSOR OF GERMANIC LITERATURE IN THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

[Illustration 1: EMMA CARRYING HER LOVER After the painting by G. L. P. Saint Ange Charlemagne had so great an affection for his children, legitimate and natural, that he prevented his daughters, of whom Emma was one, from marrying, in order not to lose their company. They were reputed to be very beautiful. Being debarred from marriage, they sought unlawful love adventures, and gave birth to illegitimate children. The romantic story of Emma's nightly meetings with Eginhard, and of her carrying her learned lover through the freshly fallen snow to conceal his footprints, is an unauthenticated legend.]

Woman

In all ages and in all countries

VOLUME VIII

WOMEN OF THE TEUTONIC NATIONS

BY

HERMANN SCHOENFELD, PH.D., LL.D. Professor of Germanic Literature in the George Washington University

ILLUSTRATED

PHILADELPHIA GEORGE BARRIE & SONS, PUBLISHERS

THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY Dedicated to MADAME CHRISTIAN HEURICH NEE KEYSER

PREFACE

Adequately to write the history of the woman of any race would mean the writing of the history of the nation itself. There is no phase of the cultural life of any people that is not founded upon the physical and moral nature of its women. On the other hand, mental and moral heredity, both through paternity and maternity, determines the character and innermost being of woman. If we knew all the preponderating influences of heredity for ages, we could with almost mathematical accuracy compute the traits of human biology in every case. The forces of environment, tremendous though they are, modify, but do not alter in any way the original nature of man, which is established and standardized "by eternal and immutable laws." Anthropology is continuously progressing toward a firm scientific foundation, and is beginning to organize even the vast domain of psychology into a well defined system. The interdependence between physical, mental, and moral traits is well recognized, but its exact determination is impossible, owing to the infinite complexity of the endless ancestral potencies.

So much is established, however: Teutonic woman, as she appears in history, is the product of two groups of influences, the one group, inherited nature; the other, environment; she is the exact sum of these antecedent causes. And only so far as these causes differ does the Teutonic woman differ from her sister of any other race of other times and climes.

In this book of a purely historical, literary, and cultural character must be excluded all that refers to the physiological and ethnographical characteristics of the Teutonic woman and of her Slavic sister. Nor are we concerned with the theory of their evolution, i. e. , the search of the physical principles according to which the consequences of their existence are true to the laws of their antecedents. Many eminent scientists have tried their great faculties on this subject of universal interest and importance. Standard works of a scientific character, like Floss's Das Weib in der Natur und Volherhunde , abound in scientific and medical bibliography.

Our limited task is merely to deal succinctly with the most general evolution of the social position and the cultural status of the Teutonic and, even more briefly, of the Slavic woman at the various epochs of their respective histories, and how far the history of civilization among those races was influenced by them, how far the symptoms of national morality and the degree of culture were shaped by feminine achievements, proclivities, virtues, and vices. Two thousand years of the richest, almost unfathomable, history had to be traversed in the attempt to glean the essential red thread from the enormous masses of facts which in their entirety would be inaccessible even to the most universal historical scholar... Continue reading book >>




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