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6 November 2006

From Wolkenstein to Buselmeier

Exhibition of literature on Heidelberg at the Department of Germanic Studies

Both Heidelberg and German literature have a long history to look back on. And they meet at a number of points, as a permanent exhibition at the Palais Boisserée (Department of Germanic Studies, University of Heidelberg) sets out to illustrate. A chronological guide to Heidelberg's literary past from the early modern age to the present highlights important writers who have lived and worked in Heidelberg for at least part of their lives.

The exhibition encompasses drawings, books written in Heidelberg and writings in which their authors indicate their affinities to the city. Among these authors were Adolph Knigge, who was enraptured by the beauty of the city, and of course Goethe, who stayed here on various occasions and also frequented the Palais Boisserée itself.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Des Knaben Wunderhorn ("The Youth's Magic Horn") in Heidelberg, so of course it comes in for very special attention. This collection of songs edited by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim is one of the most important testimonies to the spirit of German Romanticism.

Among the representatives of the more recent past are of course poetess Hilde Domin and also (though less well known) Emil Belzner. Belzner's letters to his friend Georg Schneider are the only original documents to be found in the exhibition. Up to 1969, Belzner was head of the arts section and then editor-in-chief of the local Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung newspaper. Michael Buselmeier is one of the living authors included in the exhibition.

There could hardly be a more congenial setting for the exhibition than Room 133 of the Department of Germanic Studies in the Hauptstraße. Visitors have a fine view of the ruined Castle to put them in the right mood for Viktor von Scheffel's paean of praise for the city: Alt-Heidelberg, du feine, / Du Stadt an Ehren reich. The rough draft of these verses can be inspected outside Room 133, together with two of the most famous tributes to Heidelberg in verse form, by Oswald von Wolkenstein and Friedrich Hölderlin. A separate glass case in the immediate vicinity draws the visitor's attention to this year's author in residence at the University, Louis Begley. Thus the history of literature in and about Heidelberg comes full circle.

Renée Ricarda Billau

Exhibition at the Palais Boisserée (Department of Germanic Studies, University of Heidelberg), Hauptstraße 207-209, 1st floor, Room 133, admission free. Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (the room may occasionally be required for teaching).

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

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