Back to school

With school starting on August 6th, the University buildings are deserted but for those who have kids in school age like I do. You can even recognized the bikes, not only because they are parked from 8:20 on, but also because they have old child seats on them that are discoloured by their exposure to sun and rain during the pre-school era. Real work has begun again, but in a somewhat soft atmosphere.

I spent the major part of my vacation working on a letter edition that is aimed at being printed only. I am back to the analog world!  Working on a much less precise scale (e.g. not on the scale of the single line) makes things move forward much faster. I have also given up rendering all corrections and additions by other hands. This correspondence – between Johann Heinrich Voß (the son) and Solger – has already been edited in part (to be precise, one could even say in bits) and is hence a real mess, with various hands interferring on the manuscript. This is due to the Goethe effect. In the time when he was in Weimar and Jena (the years 1804-1805), Voß was helping Schiller and Goethe out with translations and metric tasks. His letters consist in pages long acclamations and praises of Goethe (Schiller gets the due load mostly after his death). As a contribution to the Goethe cult – which Voß himself intended them to be -, they circulated very early and were partly printed in diverse editions. Although it was well known that Voß tended to exagerate (even his buddy Abeken underlines this in the book he himself wrote as a contribution to the Goethe cult a few years later), those text bits have been mostly taken at face value. Needless to say that I enjoy the myth-deconstruction part of this editorial work. The commenting might take me a while, since I am not so much into Goethe philology, but if there is an author you can find information about, it is surely Goethe. In comparison with all the unknown people I am ususally working on, it will be refreshing to find  the references to his publications without sweating and swearing and blaming google.

This leaves little time for digital stuff, alas! Still, things have moved on (without me doing much about it) in the meantime. The students’ encodings of the letters from Chamisso to de La Foye have come in numerous. Sabine, Anna and I will discuss the harmonization of those soon and we will have them online by Mid-October. Also, Janin has been working on the transcription of an unpublished text by Adelheid Reinbold on Ludwig Tieck which should be online before the end of the year: there, it is not only the strategies developed by this woman writer to assert herself that are of interest, but also the intertextuality inherent to the way she puts Tieck in a general literary perspective. Henrike has been transcribing the letters by Chamisso and his wife Antonie in the time of his travel to Greifswald and Rügen in 1823 for her BA – I find her letters fascinating. The first OCRs of Boeckh’s books have come in, we will check the quality next week. I have been contacted by the Golkonda Verlag, which plans an edition of Tieck’s works. Anna has reviewed the whole Sandmann encoding and moved on with Schlehmihl. With so many things going on, it feels good to come back to work.

Although I am not sure that I will be able to encode as many letters as I had planned until our official launch, I can see that the next winter will be productive and am looking forward to it. (I still plan to finish the older things too: the Voß volume, the Solger volume, the dissertation. So: back to Voß now!)

Cite this blog post
Anne Baillot (2012, August 15). Back to school. Digital Intellectuals. Retrieved April 21, 2024, from

Anne Baillot

I am a Professor of German Studies at Le Mans Université. My areas of research include German literature, Digital Humanities, textual scholarship and intellectual history.

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