"I even sang with the Summer School Choir"

Coffee break at the Wielandgut Oßmannstedt. Right in front Danilo Sepra.

From a Brazilian point of view, it's not obvious why Weimar - a small, former duchy among many other territorial states with separate institutions and administrations - could become the site of German Classicism, home to the national poet (or poets) of German literature at a time when a German "nation" didn't even exist in our sense of the word. As a German Studies scholar in Brazil, I am interested in how various political experiences of nation-building influence the creation of a national poet. The Summer School programme and research visit in Weimar offered me the opportunity to address these topics sensually and theoretically. Observing and investigating a national poet's strategies of presentation (and also self-presentation) has always been of particular interest to me, also in connection to my current research on the (self-) depictions and images of the poet.

The lively and intensive exchange with other scholarship holders from all walks of life was a unique experience and enriched my perspective that went far beyond academic development. The atmosphere among the participants was characterised by friendly interaction and a reflectively critical and academic rigour. What's more - and this surely had something to do with the cheerful mood of the Summer School - I even sang with the Summer School choir. I never imagined I would have the courage to do something like that.

After two weeks at the Summer School, I was able to conduct my own archive research in Weimar for another week. The Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek possesses a richly diverse collection of German Studies materials; it was an excellent and cosy place to conduct my research. In that final week, I had access to material, texts and books that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to consult in Brazil. These will prove very helpful for developing my dissertation in Brazil. In that last week, I could feel how deeply my time at the Summer school had impressed me and would continue to do so for a very long time.

In his master's thesis, Danilo Serpa examined the depiction of poets in the genre of the German hymn of the 18th century. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in German Studies at the University of São Paulo, Brazil with a dissertation titled "The Motif of Orpheus in German Poetry in the First Half of the 20th Century".