Using ‘Travel’ to Deliver the Ideas of a Revolution: Written Works of German Romantic Sophie Mereau

Alison P. Hosey, University of Connecticut - Storrs



For German Romantic Sophie Mereau (1770-1806), the theme of travel not only provides flexibility within the narrative but it also gives an avenue for character development. In her literary works Das Blütenalter der Empfindung (1794) and Die Flucht nach der Hauptstadt (1806), Mereau writes about travel as a means of liberating her female protagonists as well as encouraging political discourse within the writing. Although Mereau’s literature follows romantic plotlines, various political statements can be found within her writing. Many characters clearly vocalize their dismay at the state of human rights in late eighteenth-century Europe, particularly with regard to religious freedom and gender equality. Additionally, her choices in setting, such as revolution-era France, serve to redirect the characters and dialog towards political and social issues. In this paper, I will demonstrate the role of travel in highlighting these contemporary themes.