BD-96-4 -- Literature and Literary Studies


Das Fischer-Lexikon Literatur [The Fischer Dictionary of Literature]. Ulfert Ricklefs. Frankfurt am Main Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag. 19 cm. (Fischer- Taschenbücher, . . .)

Vol. 1. A-F. 1996. xi, 703 p. ill. (. . ., 4565) ISBN 3-596-24565-6: DM 24.90

Vol. 2. G-M. 1996. viii p., p. 705-1416. (. . ., 4566) ISBN 3-596-24566-4: DM 24.90

Vol. 3. N-Z. 1996. viii p., p. 1417-2132. (. . ., 4567) ISBN 3-596-24567-2: DM 24.90

The three-volume Literatur section of the Fischer-Lexikon appeared 30 years ago, and quickly became a standard work for the study of literature. This new work is not merely an update of the old standard, though it is still an alphabetical listing of topics. It represents a new conceptualization and fundamental reorganization, the product of multiple contributors under the editorial direction of the Erlangen scholar Ulfert Ricklefs. The results of several decades of scholarship are apparent in the inclusion of new fields and topics. Articles on topics such comparative literature, emblems, pastoral poetry, journals and writers' groups/cooperative writing cast these subjects in an entirely new light. The numerous methodological and theoretical changes in recent literary scholarship are also reflected here, for example, in the articles on aesthetics, hermeneutics, intertextuality, reading, and literary theory, etc. The inclusion of these new topics, however, does not take place at the expense of the discussion of older, more traditional areas of scholarship (e.g., genre studies, rhetoric, chronology). All articles include selective bibliographies which emphasize mostly monographic sources, and there is a carefully prepared index. A pleasing, unpretentious prose style characterizes the articles: students in literary disciplines should have the work handy not only for random consultation, but also for systematic reading. [hak/sbd]


Deutsche Dichter des 20. Jahrhunderts [German Writers of the Twentieth Century]. Ed. Hartmut Steinecke. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 1996. 909 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-503-03750-0: DM 78.00

This work is a new paperback edition of the hardbound original which appeared in 1994. It provides articles about sixty twentieth century authors from the twentieth century. Each entry includes a short biography, an analysis of the author's works, a record of critical reaction, and short bibliographies. This compendium discusses not only the "classical" authors of the century, but also authors who have unjustifiably slipped out of current consciousness. The paperback edition is now affordable for college or university students and smaller libraries, to whom one can recommend it highly. The original edition is described in depth in German by IFB (see IFB 95-1-74) or in Reference Reviews Online at BD-95-1-074. [sh/sbd]


Bibliographie der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft = An International Bibliography of German Literature and Literary Studies [Database]. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann. ISSN 1430-368X: DM 498.00 (on standing order for subscribers of the print version), DM 998.00 (for non-subscribers of the print version); DM 1498.00 (first year), DM 798.00 (succeeding years)

1990-95 (1996). 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-465-02851-1

The Bibliographie der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft [Bibliography of German Literary Criticism] and its continuation, the Bibliographie der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (Bibliography of German Linguistics and Literary Criticism), has appeared in print since 1957, and its earliest volumes have been cumulated as the Bibliographisches Handbuch der deutsche Literaturwissenschaft (Bibliographic Handbook of German Literary Criticism. Starting with volume 30 (1990), this work has been prepared electronically, and its system of abbreviations was abandoned in favor of RAK, the German rules for alphabetic cataloging.

In addition to this annual bibliography, the quarterly journal Germanistik lists new publications in the field (minus dissertations and reviews) and provides short reviews of selected monographs. The currency of its entries and the solid reputation of its reviews have earned Germanistik a respected international reputation, though its future is uncertain. The MLA International Bibliography (MLA-IB) also functions as a bibliographical tool for German studies, abbreviated within the work's international context. Online and CD-ROM versions of the MLA-IB starting with 1976 enable electronic searching of this reference tool.

Now electronic searching of the BDSL via CD-ROM is also available for the first six volumes, beginning in 1990, exploiting the fact that they were typeset electronically. The CD-ROM version will appear annually, cumulating the previous years' entries. In addition to the advantage of a yearly cumulation, the CD-ROM offers the possibility of full-text searching, and searching in specific fields such as publication date, publisher, and journal title, as well as printing an entry or saving it to diskette. Its search capabilities are flexible, and enable the use of Boolean operators. Each search is assigned a search result which can be recombined with later search results to form new searches. Its hardware requirements are typical for current software applications: IBM-compatible PC with a 386 or higher processor, 8 MB of hard disk space, MS-DOS 3.3 or MS Windows 3.1, CD-ROM drive and mouse. It is likely that, as for the print version, the new BDSL will soon become the new standard bibliography for German studies. The CD-ROM version has transformed the staid BDSL into a modern reference tool, whose value will increase with each year. [hak/sbd]


Neue deutsche Literaturgeschichte: vom "Ackermann" zu Günter Grass [New History of German Literature:From "Ackermann" to Günter Grass]. Peter J. Brenner. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1996. viii, 397 p. 20 cm. ISBN 3-484-10736-7: DM 29.80

Brenner has produced a one-volume literary history which one can recommend to all college and university students in good conscience as a literary-historical vademecum. The work does not exhibit the unfortunate tendency of "the newer it is, the more we write about it" - the type of coverage which characterized Wolfgang Beutin's well-known Deutsche Literaturgeschichte (German Literary History; Stuttgart; Weimar, 1994). When Brenner's work is compared to Fritz Martini's one-volume Deutsche Literaturgeschichte (German Literary History; Stuttgart, 1991), what stands out is Brenner's original treatment of certain genres, such as crime novels or non-fiction works. Following a straightforward chronological arrangement, it is divided into thirteen periods in chapters of roughly equal length. It concentrates deliberately on the literature and its poetological foundations, but also discusses political and sociological issues when they are necessary for an understanding of the literature. The work's bibliography is concise and up-to-date, and an appendix contains a chronology of titles which students will find helpful in shaping their own reading plans. A work such as Brenner's which attempts to discuss authors that current scholarship overlooks unfortunately has itself overlooked authors such as Matthias Claudius, Adolf Freiherr Knigge, Heimito von Doderer, Robert Gernhardt, and Herbert Rosendorfer. But such omissions are easily correctable in a new edition. [hak/sbd]


Walter Benjamin: Sammlung J. Leinweber [The Walter Benjamin collection of J. Leinweber]. J. Leinweber. Marburg: Leinweber, 1996. 557 p. ill. 30 cm. DM 180.00 (within Germany), $140.00 (overseas, price includes airmail). (Dr. Jörg Leinweber, Antiquariat, Postfach 1650, 35006 Marburg, fax 06421/21355)

The scholarly weight of the Leinweber collection is underscored impressively by this catalog's large format, its heavy paper, its lavish illustrations, indeed by its sheer mass--both in size and in number of pages. The owner of the collection in question, Jörg Leinweber, is also the compiler of the catalog. Leinweber did his doctoral dissertation on "Benjamin's Doctrine of the Similar" (Benjamins Lehre vom Ähnlichen, Marburg 1978) and his competent, (almost) error-free commentaries upon the many publications and documents confirm his status as a knowledgeable expert.

The catalog lists a total of 901 items. Numbers 1 through 195 consist of autographs (a total of ten, including letters to Franz Blei and Bernard von Brentano), first editions of the five works published during Benjamin's life, 37 posthumously published works, original printings of 133 mainly newspaper and journal articles, as well as Benjamin's translations (ten in all). Among the other rarities collected here are several documents and publications by members of Benjamin's family. The remaining 700 or so items of the collection include the entire run of the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, 87 books that Benjamin reviewed in the course of his life (among them a number of first editions, e.g. of Lukács' Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein), plus autographs by authors who Benjamin knew more or less well (Brecht, Aragon, Fleißer, Hessel), finally first editions of works by writers such as Goethe, Jochmann, Fourier, and Baudelaire that play an important role in Benjamin's own intellectual biography.

In 1982, Leinweber offered a total of 320 pieces from his Benjamin collection for sale individually, but these same titles can almost all be found again in the 1996 catalog. Now, however, the collection will only be sold as a whole. The hope is that the collection may form "the foundation for a future Walter Benjamin institute that is accessible for research and the interested public." This can be said for most of the Benjamin collections around the world, both large and small, such as those in New York, Paris, Berlin, and Jerusalem, though not the most significant of them all: the Theodor W. Adorno Archive in Frankfurt, where the director, Rolf Tiedemann, watches over the Benjamin materials as if they were his personal property, permitting access only to a very restricted elite.

Although the collection does contain a number of items which clearly do not belong, e.g. purely personal letters by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Karl Kraus, it does indeed, as the collector set out to do, chart well the intellectual context in which Benjamin lived and worked. This becomes evident especially when one runs one's eyes down the seemingly endless columns of names--authors, illustrators, translators, and magazine titles--contained in the many indexes. [mb/jg]


Internationale Hölderlin-Bibliographie: auf der Grundlage der Neuerwerbungen des Hölderlin-Archivs der Württembergischen Landesbibliothek; Quellen und Sekundärliteratur, Rezeption und Rezensionen (IHB) [International Hölderlin bibliography: based on the new acquisitions of the Hölderlin Archive of the Württemberg State Library; Sources and Criticism, Reception, and Reviews]. A publication of the Hölderlin-Archiv. Ed. Werner Paul Sohnle and Marianne Schütz. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog. 25 cm. Each release published in two parts: Pt. 1. Erschließungsband [Indexes]; Pt. 2. Materialband [Texts]. ISSN 0178-2142

1993/94, vols. 1-2. ISBN 3-7728-1720-3 (vol. 1), ISBN 3-7728-1721-1 (vol. 2): DM 836.00, DM 694.00 (subscription price)

This latest release of the International Hölderlin-Bibliographie, reviewed by IFB several years ago, proves again that the human imagination knows no bounds when it comes to devising new types of author bibliographies. The first part of this new volume, called in German the Erschließungsband, or "access volume," is divided into a "systematic subject word index of the cited literature," an "alphabetical subject index of the cited literature," a personal name index, and a title index--the latter not of Hölderlin's works, but again of the cited literature.

The systematic subject word index is actually the main part of this half-volume. The structure of the index is provided by a Hölderlin thesaurus of approximately 5000 descriptors of which the highest hierarchical level is formed by the following nine terms, translated here as: General; Personality; Biography; Worldview in Biography and Work; Accomplishments in Theory and Life; Poetics; Oeuvre; Reception; Research. It takes a rather mechanistic view of bibliography to cram Hölderlin and Hölderlin research into such an arbitrary scheme, and it is no surprise that there are serious problems assigning works to these subdivisions.

Since the structure is provided in the first half-volume, the second half-volume can afford to arrange its material in alphabetical order. Researchers must therefore endure considerable tedium as they search out the 20 or so works having to do, for example, with the poem "Friedensfeier" scattered throughout the second half-volume. This is actually wasted time: one expects of an author bibliography to be relieved of this very kind of chasing about.

Frequently, the user is disturbed by the senseless repetition of bibliographic detail, an apparently inevitable artifact of the electronic data creation and collation process. Indeed, the work as a whole seems to be more the result of sorting by computer than of an intelligent organization of the material by expert (human) editors. There is yet further evidence of this lack of human care. It is, for example, of no use to cite reviews of works that have some relation to Hölderlin, but in their scope often go far beyond the topic, unless care is taken to highlight that part of the works (and the reviews) that relate specifically to the subject of the bibliography at hand--namely, Hölderlin.

Hölderlin research has already become a playground for photo-duplication specialists, diviners, and soothsayers, who together seem to have displaced the true Germanists. Now it appears with the IHB that a desolate form of complacent, mechanistic idling has taken over the field of Hölderlin bibliography. This type of compilation has nothing to do with research, but it is also equally distant from the needs of serious amateurs. Compilers of author bibliographies must align themselves with one of these two groups, with researchers or with the true amateurs--and this work does neither. One can only cast a nostalgic glance back at the old Hölderlin bibliographies published in the Hölderlin Jahrbuch, which still succeeded in separating the wheat from the chaff. [hak/jg]


Bibliographie August Lafontaine. Dirk Sangmeister. Bielefeld: Aisthesis-Verlag, 1996. 179 p. ill. 21 cm. (Bielefelder Schriften zu Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft, 7; Bibliographien zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte, 4). ISBN 3-89528-158-1: DM 68.00

August Lafontaine (1758-1831) was a prolific author of popular fiction with over 160 works to his credit. Although there can be no doubt that his oeuvre lacked literary rafinesse, his admirers over the years have included no lesser lights than Lichtenberg, Novalis, Heine, Fontane, and, in our century, Arno Schmidt. This new bibliography documenting Lafontaine's work as well as his literary influence is exemplary both in its design and its execution.

Primary texts are divided into the main groupings A. German-language Editions and B. Translations. The first main group is subdivided into: Original Editions, Reprints, Collections and Anthologies, Magazines (actually Lafontaine's editorship of magazines), Dependent Publications, Falsely Attributed Works, Paired Publications, Imitations and Adaptations. Since many of the works listed are rare, the locations of copies inspected are indicated, while bibliographic information not based on inspection is identified as such. The notes cover broadly issues relating to printing history, legal questions, as well as matters of content. In the following part, the translations, listed alphabetically by language, show that foreign reception of Lafontaine's work expired more or less when he did.

The bibliography offers an advance look at research soon to lead to a monographic treatment of the author. It is a very welcome contribution to German literary history of the outgoing 18th and beginning 19th centuries. [hak/jg]

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