"A Living Oracle"

In conversation with Dietmar Dath

On 4th May 2016, Dietmar Dath will present his video lecture "FaustScienceFiction" in Weimar as part of the MWW’s "Text and Frame" research project. In this interview, Dath, who is a writer and cultural editor for the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", explains how the required reading of Goethe’s Faust at school inspired him to explore Satanism, why the Faust myth is still very much alive in popular culture and how every few minutes its continued relevance is clear to see.


Poster for Dietmar Dath's video lecture on 4th May in Weimar © KSW

Ill-Fated Opera

By Stefan Höppner

Few people today are familiar with Goethe’s libretto “Claudine of Villa Bella” – although parts of it were put to music by Beethoven, Brahms and Hugo Wolf. The 18-year-old Franz Schubert even composed a full-length opera which has unfortunately been lost. The Hessian composer Peter Müller didn’t fare much better; he sent his completed “Claudine” to Weimar in 1825 and waited in vain for two years before receiving a response.


A small simple story: Goethe's libretto "Claudine von Villa Bella", here the front page of an edition from 1780. © Archive Theatre, Movie and Media Studies at Vienna University

Can a book be an agent, Ms. Gleixner?

On 5 April 2016 the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel will host a four-day international conference titled “Biographies of the Book”. In the following interview, conference director Ulrike Gleixner talks about the vicissitudes in the life history of a volume, new research perspectives which libraries stand to gain by focusing on material culture and why the haptic character of a book always contains references to its content.

Eventful life history: Turkish costume book from 1570 with reddish brown leather covering and gold embossing. The front page contains a biography of handwriting in the form of entries by the book's previous owners. © HAB

The Library of a Writing-Master

By Meindert E. Peters

Meindert E. Peters spent eight weeks as a research intern at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel. In what follows the student of German at the University of Oxford explains how he discovered little Venice in Lower Saxony, why he searched for book plates in a granary and why, to this day, he remembers Wolfenbüttel fondly.


Front page of the sales catalogue of the library of the Dutch writing-master Johannes Heuvelman. (c) HAB

„Overcoming the mental barrier"

A conversation with the junior researchers Ulrike Henny and Peter Andorfer

They both began by acquiring the technical know-how by themselves. Today Ulrike Henny and Peter Andorfer are producing digital editions and contributing to larger edition projects. We met with the two junior researchers at the conference “Digital Metamorphosis. Digital Humanities and Edition Philology”, held in Wolfenbüttel in November 2015. They explained why digital edition philology is an ideal field for young academics, what misconceptions they’ve encountered with respect to their work, and whether they’d personally be just as happy living without printed books.

Fascinated by the possibilities of digital editing: Ulrike Henny and Peter Andorfer. Photo: Nicole Alexander

"Revolution of a classics edition"

Interview questions by Nicole Alexander

From 14 to 16 January 2016, the German Literature Archive in Marbach will host a public workshop titled “The Presentation of Canonical Works around 1900” as part of the MWW research project “Text and Frame”. In a conversation with conference director Philip Ajouri, he discussed the significance of German classics for the book market around 1900, the new type of publisher who entered the scene at the turn of the century, and his personal favourite edition from that time.



The "Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst"edition of 1904, edited by art patron Harry Graf Kessler, was a new type of book which one immediately recognises today as a classics edition. © DLA Marbach

Images, Texts, Places

Workshop as part of the "Politics of the Image" research project

Sometimes classical, sometimes cryptic or ironic, Alfred Döblin allowed himself to be presented photographically in very different ways. He then immediately queried these staged scenes of his authorship. The Marbach collection of Döblin's photographs is a wonderful resource for exploring this famous writer's complex relationship with his own image, said head of the MWW’s "Politics of the Image research project" Ellen Strittmatter in a lecture on "The Politics of the Image and Poetics" which she gave at the workshop "Images, Texts, Places".


Close intertwining of text and image: the autobiographical book "Alfred Döblin. Im Buch – Zu Haus – Auf der Straße" was published in 1928 marking the writer's 50th birthday. © DLA

Confusion in Weimar

By Stefan Höppner

Goethe was introduced to the pastor Georg Christoph Tobler in Switzerland in 1779, and two years later, the two men met again in Weimar. When Tobler’s rhapsodic text “Die Natur” (Nature) appeared in the "Tiefurter Journal" in 1782/83, most assumed that Goethe was the author. A mistake which even the renowned journal "Nature" failed to rectify in its first issue of 1869 – one that even the great poet himself had no small part in propagating.

“By Goethe”: Tobler’s text appeared in the first issue of the journal "Nature" in 1869 – and was attributed to Goethe. © Nature Publishing Group

The Party

By Jens Hacke und Stephan Schlak

In the coming days, readers will be receiving the winter issue of the "Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte", titled "The Party". Featuring an array of wild party scenes, the issue examines the “dark rooms” of the history of ideas with essays by Aleida Assmann, Heinz Bude, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Philipp Felsch, Petra Gehring, Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, Ellen Strittmatter and many others.

Das Cover von Heft IX/4 Winter 2015 der "Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte"

"Establishing MWW as an independent authority"

A little over two years ago, at the beginning of September 2013, the Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel Research Association (MWW) entered its first five-year funding phase. In the following interview, Sonja Asal, managing director of the MWW, describes her goals for the coming years and explains, why she finds scientific management so fascinating, and to what extent the role of libraries and archives has changed.

Managing director Sonja Asal at the opening ceremony of the MWW Research Association at the Thuringian state representation in Berlin on 19 May 2014. (c) Susanne Schleyer/