International Summer School 2016

Making of a National Author - Construction an Ambition
1. to 12. August 2016, Klassik Stiftung Weimar

The MWW International Summer School was held at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar from 1 to 12 August 2016. Twenty scholarship holders from ten different countries were invited to meet with scholars from France, Japan, Russia, Germany and Switzerland to discuss the "Making of a National Author - Construction and Ambition".

When and where are classical national authors created?

When and where are classical national authors created? This is a question Goethe himself posed in his famous essay "Literary Sansculottism". Using the collections in Weimar as a basis, the summer school participants investigated how Goethe and Schiller joined the ranks of Germany's national authors. They examined how both poets were presented in contemporary portraits and how their Weimar residences were staged as secular pilgrimage sites. Writers like Thomas Mann and Gerhart Hauptmann, who repeatedly drew direct comparisons to Goethe to underscore their claims of being modern national authors, were also incorporated into the discussion. By means of a comparative approach, the summer school examined selected national authors in other European countries and conducted individual analyses of non-European writers as well. The summer school concluded with a discussion on whether the "national author" was a specifically European phenomenon closely tied to 19th-century cultural history, or whether it continued to play a significant role as a collective figure of identification in 21st-century societies shaped by intercultural processes of exchange.

The seminars were accompanied by numerous excursions into the collections and historic buildings of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, including the Rococo Hall at the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, and the Goethe und Schiller Residences.

The guest lecturers included Frank Fischer (Moscow), Nikolas Immer (Trier), Paul Kahl (Göttingen), Stefan Keppler-Tasaki (Tokyo), Stéphane Pesnel (Paris), Ulrich Schmid (St. Gallen), Christine Tauber (Munich), Stefan Weidner (Cologne) and numerous research associates of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and the MWW Research Association.

View the 2016 International Summer School programme (in German). 

Impressions in photos

Reports of Participants

"In Weimar, you experience culture; in Weimar, everything is culture"

By Burrhus Quercy Njanjo Nkake

Burrhus Quercy Njanjo Nkake has just arrived from Kamerun. As part of the MWW’s International Summer School 2016 on "Making of a National Author - Construction and Ambition", he spent two weeks in Weimar where he experienced the culture of the city.

Read his report here

"I even sang with the Summer School choir"

By Danilo Serpa

Danilo Serpa is from Brasilien. The atmosphere among the participants, the Summer School programme and research visit in Weimar had impressed him deeply.

Read his report here

"The idea of spending two weeks in Weimar was reason for both exhilaration and anxiety"

By Veronika Walter

Twenty participants of the second MWW International Summer School were greeted as "summerlies" by Hellmut Seemann, President of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. In the following, Viktoria Walter from Munic reports what she experienced in Weimar.

Read here report here