Building upon his earlier book ""The Death of the German Cousin"", renowned author Peter Edgerly Firchow focuses ""Strange Meetings"" on major modern British writers from Eliot to Auden and explores the development of British conceptions and misconceptions of Germany and Germans from 1910 to 1960.While the book does not aim to be inclusive, it casts light on representative places, which will sensitize readers when they encounter similar phenomena in other contexts. The individual chapters highlight particularly significant moments in the problematic relationship between Britain and Germany during the first half of the last century. Firchow focuses on the personal encounter with Germany by Eliot, Lawrence, and Brooke in the years immediately preceding the Great War; on the tragic conflict between vocation and national identity faced by German academics specializing in English literature (especially Shakespeare), as well as by British academics specializing in German literature (especially Goethe), during the First World War; on Christopher Isherwood's formative years in Berlin during the final years of the Weimar Republic; on the appeal of Fascism to British intellectuals and literary figures during the 1930s (especially Yeats, Eliot, and Lawrence); and on the partial and ambiguous post-war reconciliation achieved in W.H. Auden's writings about his life in a German-speaking country from 1957 until his death in 1973. The introduction and conclusion of the book place these encounters in the context of current British views of Germans and vice versa.
Peter Edgerly Firchow, internationally recognized scholar and author of numerous works including Reluctant Modernists, W. H. Auden: Contexts for Poetry, Envisioning Africa: Racism and Imperialism in Conrad's ""Heart of Darkness,"" The End of Utopia, and most recently Modern Utopian Fictions from H. G. Wells to Iris Murdoch, is professor of English at the University of Minnesota.