The Provocation of Books

Caroline Jessen

Books play a prominent role in the discourse on Jewish “cultural heritage” destroyed in Germany after 1933. Especially in Israel, the remnants of personal libraries shipped to Palestine from Europe by Jewish citizens, symbolise a culture of reading in past tense – as well as a latent overload of memory.


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Remnants: German language books. Photo: Caroline Jessen

An inadequate bulwark against the ravages of time – Stefan Zweig’s last books in Petrópolis’ municipal library

Susanna Brogi

“He shut himself up in his tower, he placed the bulwark of his thousand books between himself and the noise,” wrote Stefan Zweig in his essay fragment Montaigne during the last years of exile which had taken him to the Brazilian city of Petrópolis in August 1941. The passionate autograph...

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“Are you competing?” – Publishers in competition around 1900

Philip Ajouri

Goethe’s novel fragment Wilhelm Meisters theatralische Sendung (`Wilhelm Meister’s Theatrical Mission’, written between 1777 and 1785) was believed to be lost for many years. It was discovered in Zurich in December 1909 when a student brought the manuscript into class and asked his teacher...

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What role did legal and economic conditions play in the publication of classical literature around 1900? A telegram, stored in the archive at the Insel Verlag, provides a fascinating clue. It indicates how far publishers were willing to go to secure the first publication rights of a Goethe text. (Telegram from Adolf Kaegi to Anton Kippenberg, 17 March 1910, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, A:Insel).