Translating Nietzsche, mediating literature: Alexander Tille and the limits of Anglo-German intercultural transfer

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Dr. Alexander Tille (1866–1912) was one of the key-figures in Anglo-German intercultural transfer towards the end of the 19th century. As a lecturer in German at Glasgow University he was the first to translate and edit Nietzsche’s work into English. Writers such as W. B. Yeats were influenced by Nietzsche and used Tille’s translations. Tille’s social Darwinist reading of the philosopher’s oeuvre, however, had a narrowing impact on the reception of Nietzsche in the Anglo-Saxon world for decades. Through numerous publications Tille disseminated knowledge about British authors (e.g., Robert Louis Stevenson, William Wordsworth) in Germany and about German authors (e.g., Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) in Britain. His role as mediator also extended into areas such as history, religion, and industry. During the Boer war, however, Tille’s outspoken pro-German nationalism brought him in conflict with his British host society. After being physically attacked by his students he returned to Germany and published a highly anglophobic monograph. Tille personifies the paradox of Anglo-German relations in the pre-war years, which deteriorated despite an increase in intercultural transfer and knowledge about the respective Other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

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  • Alexander Tille
  • Anglo-German intercultural transfer
  • 19th century
  • Nietzsche
  • Yeats
  • social Darwinist reading
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • William Wordsworth
  • Germany
  • German authors
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Britain
  • mediator
  • Boer war
  • pro-German nationalism
  • anglophobic monograph
  • Anglo-German relations
  • pre-war years


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