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”

Shadow in the night (bliss)

I had the pleasure, honour, happiness, you name it, to print my PhD candidate’s works today to put them in my holiday luggage. And for two of them, I had to actually bind them in order for the leaves to stay together.

The progress of their scholarly work is reaching a new stage of reality. Now I see these meanders of sources, discussions, structures changing (or not), additional readings adding confusion, but then clarity, become something of its own, after wondering for a long time what I should do to make that happen. Obviously, the advisor has a small impact on the reality of a dissertation, being more like a presence than like a guide really, since the whole point of the thing is to become your own guide. So it’s more like the advisor is a shadow in the night, standing by the wall just in case, under some dim street light. Well, you never know. Might need help after all. Or not. Continue reading “Shadow in the night (bliss)”

Migration: successful!

Our edition is now hosted by the Trier Center for Digital Humanities. The corpora have landed softly, the SVN is now operational (thanks to the technical team in Trier!) – in other words: we can get back to work on the edition. Boeckh and Euler are the ones who will be lucky enough to be enriched soon. I am working on finding the necessary funding to wrap up the Chamisso-de la Foye and the Raumer-Tieck correspondences quickly as well. No surprises so far.

But some new features are in the making as well.  Continue reading “Migration: successful!”

the 280th

This is the 280th post on this blog. Also, the pdf of our edition has 1437 pages (including those that are not finalized enough to be published yet), the class script I want to transform into a book 182.

I came to count pages a lot lately. Time had come for final accounting, budget- and production-wise: in a few hours, the main raison d’être for this blog will be passé. The junior research group “Berlin intellectuals 1800-1830” will be no more. This afternoon, I reached in the final report. Continue reading “the 280th”