Families, I do not hate you

For the third time since I started the project “Berlin intellectuals 1800-1830”, great luck has come to me from descendants’ families. Unexpectedly, material turns out to be recoverable. Letters – answers to other letters we have edited in Letters and Texts – happen not to be lost after all. They are in a box, the box in a cabinet, the cabinet in the home of an elderly lady. And they have been there at least since the first edition (a censored edition, of course) was realised in the 1930s.

The moment when you get a phone call at your office with someone presenting themselves with the last name of an author you edit is a moment of blessing, for many reasons. One of these reasons is that they call you because they found your research online, which means: open science is not a vain word, and the effort of making one’s research easily accessible online makes a difference – for them and for you. With that phone call, new worlds open for your research, like in this case finding the answers to decades of correspondence. We will date better, understand allusions, see how the relationship evolves, grasp contexts. We will put the puzzle pieces back together, something we can do virtually without displacing documents but for the few hours needed to digitize them. Continue reading “Families, I do not hate you”

Write your own legend (II): Elfriede Jelinek at work

I couldn’t repress to parallelize this blogpost with the former one, be it only for the irony of it. As a matter of fact, it really sounds at first like a contradiction in terms to compare the strategies of a tycoon who reigned over literary destinies and their wallet for centuries and those of a literature Nobel prize known for her will to sever ties with capitalism. But the presentations I attended yesterday have made the parallels between both models more blatant than I ever figured they could be. Continue reading “Write your own legend (II): Elfriede Jelinek at work”

Archivalien im Zeitalter ihrer technischen Reproduzierbarkeit

Ein Tagungsbericht von Johanna Preusse

Das Netzwerk KOOP Litera Deutschland veranstaltet jedes Jahr eine Tagung, die verschiedenen Institutionen, die mit Autographen und Nachlässen arbeiten, einen Austausch ermöglicht. Angesprochen sind also in erster Linie Archive und Bibliotheken, aber ebenso alle anderen Institutionen, Projekte und Personen, für die das Themengebiet Relevanz hat. Die Tagung zum Thema „Archivische Erschließung und wissenschaftliche Edition“ fand im Mai 2015 im Weimarer Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv statt, Continue reading “Archivalien im Zeitalter ihrer technischen Reproduzierbarkeit”

Ad fontes!

I had intended to blog over the week, but it turned out that changing places every other day was too exhausting – the fact that the events I attended, although lasting only one day each, included a lot of presentations on very different topics, certainly did contribute to that as well.  Continue reading “Ad fontes!”

What 2015 will be made of

So now it is here, the fatal year in which my project funding will definitely end. Since my last postings, nothing has changed to the fact that I have no stable perspective for the time after (somebody should really tell the German Research Foundation that Junior Research Group Leadership is not considered an equivalent to the second book by hiring committees, at least in the fields I work in).

Still, there is more or less one year of funding left, at least for me, and I intend to make the best out of it. Continue reading “What 2015 will be made of”