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Title: Old Books, New Times: Medieval Manuscripts and German Literature around 1800
Authors: Hunter-Parker, Hannah
Advisors: Poor, Sara S
Wegmann, Nikolaus
Contributors: German Department
Keywords: Manuscripts
Media Practices
Subjects: German literature
Medieval literature
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Old Books, New Times: Medieval Manuscripts and German Literature around 1800, explains an improbable development in German literary history: the “rediscovery” of medieval literature by modern writers and intellectuals around 1800. Why did texts and traditions that had been neglected, lost, or forgotten for centuries suddenly resurface in the writings of different movements, institutions, and writers, from Gottsched and Bodmer, to Lessing, the Schlegel brothers and Tieck? Old Books, New Times reveals this improbable resurfacing as the effect of specific media practices, in which technically obsolete forms like the parchment codex or the monastic library collided with alternate conditions for the production, circulation, and storage of literature in the present. Negotiations between old and new media served as a crucial impetus for modern German writers, as well as for the study and reception of earlier traditions beginning at this time. Over three chapters, the dissertation traces such negotiations to pivotal moments both in the respective writers’ oeuvres and to the larger literary system. The writers considered are central to the history and study of German literature, in questions of edition, genre, canon, conservation, and education. However, the status of their medieval sources as manuscripts and other old media in an age of rising print has never been addressed. The first book-length study of the topic, the dissertation builds on close readings of canonical texts, archival research, and studies of individual manuscripts and their modern readers. What is at stake in Old Books, New Times is ultimately a question of attentions: how do certain media techniques and technologies create interest in literary texts? How do these work to create literature in the first place?
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:German

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