written in 1988 by Richard Hacken
The rule that “bigger is better” has a major exception in Lower Saxony, just a few kilometers from the East German border. When sufficient people arrive by tour bus or by a 14-minute train ride from Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel is a town of 50,000 inhabitants. The library holdings there number just over half a million volumes, about one-fifth the size of [my own] library, as far as numbers go. But for research in almost any aspect of early modern Europe, the 439-year-old Wolfenbüttel library is “klein, aber fein,” “looks small but stands tall.” Even though it’s isolated in a provincial burg, it has irreplaceable treasures and has been growing recently through grants, internships, and outreach programs into an important center for advanced studies in the humanities.
The founder of the collection was Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Lüneburg in the mid 1500’s, who as a young man had started a small personal library. The year 1550 is the first collection date we can attribute to items now in the library, when the Duke-apparent visited Paris, Orleans, Bourges, and other French cities, buying books as he went. After becoming ruler of the duchy, he proceeded to make a modern state of it, founding a printing shop and university at nearby Helmstedt, which is today known mainly as the beginning of a railway corridor through the GDR to Berlin. A portion of the collection migrated to Helmstedt in the seventeenth century and was to stay there following the demise of the university in 1810 before returning to Wolfenbüttel.
In literary taste, Julius was heavily into heroic tales and stories of chivalry, the sort of thing Cervantes later put on the point of a lance for lampooning purposes. On the inside front cover of one of the French tales of chivalry acquired in 1550 we read the abbreviated inscription: ”1.5.50 / G.V.W.G. / I.H.Z.B.V.L.” [First of May 1550, then his personal motto, “Gottes Vorsehung wird geschehen.” (The Providence of God shall come to pass.), followed by name and title “Julius Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg.”]
Julius initiated a strict policy that required his librarian, Leonhard Schröter, to clean the books once a week (we’re not talking here about laundering the books, as a Mafia accountant does, but wiping them clean), to keep out anyone with firearms or a large overcoat, and to get the Duke’s personal written permission before loaning any book. He collected the literature of his day, but also––in the wake of the recent Reformation––he gathered (in many cases “confiscated”) rare manuscripts from monasteries located in the area. So, there is a reasonable amount of medieval material to be found in Wolfenbüttel. Among them are a collection of 105 manuscripts from the Alsace, a ninth century French evangeliary and a late twelfth century evangeliary from Helmarshausen. There is a complete copy of the “Sachsenspiegel,” a review of Saxon law prior to the year 1230, and fragments from an Ulfilas bible in Gothic, from Otfried von Weissenburg’s Gospel Harmony in Old High German, and from a copy of Thomasin von Zirklaere’s work in Middle High German. Matthias Corvinus, a King of Hungary, was the greatest bibliophile of the late Middle Ages, and a number of his manuscripts found their way with some assistance to Wolfenbüttel.
There are almost 4,000 incunabula, early printings from between 1450 and 1500, including the only known copy of the oldest illustrated book printed with movable type, Ulrich Boner’s “Edelstein” from 1461 in Early New High German.
Central documents of the Reformation are present, thanks mainly to Julius. He procured from the widow of Luther’s publisher, Aurifaber, a considerable collection of the handwritten and printed output of the reformers, among them extensive correspondence between Luther and Melanchthon. And there is, of course, the obligatory complete Gutenberg Bible.
The Duke’s son Henry Julius took over where his father had left off. He was a writer himself, as were several other dukes. He had a great Interest in the arts and in law. He acquired nearly 1,000 legal works and added enough volumes that the total collection numbered more than 10,000 at the time of his death in 1613. Part of his collecting strategy was to purchase the significant private library of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, consisting of 907 printed and handwritten books purchased in the year 1597 for the sum of 1095 1/2 talers. This collection alone brought in manuscripts from monasteries as far distant as Melk in Austria and St. Andrews in Scotland. Henry Julius brought in first editions of the first Hungarian hymnal (1566), of the Faust-book of 1587, and of Don Quixote in 1605.
The Duke whose scholarship and devotion to collecting are recognized in the name of the library, however, the Herzog August Bibliothek, was August the Younger. He brought together not only books on all subjects of the day, but rare manuscripts, maps, portraits, and clocks to meet the seventeenth-century conception of a rarities chamber. August was proof of the idea that “baroque” culture was born and raised in the princely courts. Since Germany consisted at the time mainly of small courts in contrast to France with its grand center at Versailles, it has been said that these miniature courts had a much greater social and cultural significance than did their counterparts in France. If August was a minor nobleman, then we can say looking back that he was a major minor nobleman and his realm was one of the biggest little Duchies in Germany.
The court at Wolfenbüttel had been fortunate to have a series of scholarly dukes who were not politically naive, either. August, for example, managed to bring the Thirty-Years’ War to a conclusion in his particular duchy six years early through a separate peace in 1642. After this Twenty-Four Years’ War, the duke was singled out as being an outstanding rehabilitator of his lands. He was of the Guelph or Welf family (the etymology of the town’s name is unfortunately not from Welfenbüttel) and was a great-great grandfather of Maria Theresia of Austria. Also distantly related to the Stuarts of England, he had been a guest at the coronation of King James I in London in 1603.
The Duke was an accomplished scholar who attracted a number of Baroque writers to his court. In the spirit of the North German Baroque, musical compositions and festival poetry, novels and books of lyrics were written and published in Wolfenbüttel. The first book attributed to the novelist Grimmelshausen, for example, the description of a journey to the moon, was printed there in 1659. Among the Duke’s own publications were significant works on chess and on “Geheimschriften”, that is, cryptology.
August’s means of acquisition were thorough; he had a network of hired book agents combing the sources in all German-speaking countries as well as Paris and The Hague. This method was particularly successful during the Thirty-Years’ War, when human life was cheap and book prices followed the spiral downward. One document from 1666 preserved in the State Archive of Lower Saxony, also located in Wolfenbüttel, provides a list of Duke August’s book agents and their annual salaries. The highest paid was a Monsieur Jean Beck in Paris at 400 talers a year, the lowest was a Johann Ludwig von Fürst in Baden at 40 talers. But a number of other sources make it clear that the most productive book agent was the one assigned to Augsburg, the second-highest paid agent. His name was Johann Georg Anckel. The Augsburg agency was important because it opened up Catholic sources, not only in Bavaria, but especially in France and Italy. Anckel made the friendship of the mayor of Lindau, who in turn kept an eye on the Swiss market. He also had personal connections in Antwerp in Belgium and Lyons in France. By marrying the daughter of a retired Augsburg book agent, he was given access to the little black book of Paris and London markets. From this we see the age of the Baroque was one in which political borders meant very little in the cultural landscape, and in fact the collection doesn’t reflect a local interest, but a European perspective.
Probably the most important contact of all for Anckel was in Augsburg itself, with the Jesuits. August, as a broad-minded Lutheran, was highly interested in controversial theological literature, and the Jesuits provided not only this, but important literary works from all over Catholic Europe. In many instances, Anckel himself and his network of sub-agents would search for years to find a single antiquarian title asked for by the Duke. And the term “antiquarian” is meant from the point of view of the mid-seventeenth century.
A further collecting principle of the Duke was that multi-volume editions would not be acquired unless they were full and complete. There was a painstaking examination to make sure that each copy was error-free on every page. Such systematic thoroughness which the Duke demanded of his book agents guaranteed not only what we would today call a “bargain,” but guaranteed the physical and intellectual quality of the holdings as well. Each acquisition consciously fit into the overall plan in agreement with the Duke’s personal motto: “Alles mit Bedacht” (Everything with forethought). It has been suggested that the Wolfenbüttel collection survived in its entirety, rather than being dispersed to other locations, precisely because of its clear intellectual unity. The richness of Wolfenbüttel has made it the logical place to incorporate gifts and loans from other institutions, such as the Helmstedt holdings in the nineteenth century, the Stolberg funeral sermon collections acquired in the 1970’s, and the twelfth-century evangeliary of Henry the Lion acquired in the 1980’s. The latter, which had once been in the cathedral in Braunschweig, was re-acquired through Sotheby’s auction house in London, with financial help of the state of Lower Saxony and the Federal Republic to the tune of around $20,000,000 and is now perhaps the single most valuable holding. It defies logic, though, to set a price on most of the materials.
The subject categories into which August divided the library are typically Baroque. The Baroque Age was fascinated with a conception of existence that was bi-polar and complementary at the same time: life/death, religious/ secular, heaven/earth, eternal/temporal, and so forth. The kind of counterpoint you hear in Baroque music as well. The subjects of the Bibliotheca Augusta formed a fugue of 10 complementary polar pairs, except for the last one: theology and law, history and military history, politics and economics, ethics and medicine, geography and astronomy, music and physics, geometry and arithmetic, poetics and logic, rhetoric and grammar, and one odd couple of miscellaneous content and a specific form, quodlibetica and manuscripta.
The geographic focus was universal. August’s agents brought in manuscripts from unlikely places like Syria, Iceland, and England. In addition to holdings on Africa and Asia, a preliminary survey has shown over one thousand pieces of Americana published between 1500 and 1800: travel reports of Vespucci, Pizarro, Cortés; books about William Penn, Champlain, Ben Franklin, maps of Martin Waldseemüller and others, engravings, and the letter of Increase Mather from 1699 about the Christian Indians of New England. So, the ages of discovery and early American settlement are represented.
Duke August was a visitor to the Frankfurt book fair, which in the seventeenth century was not a business happening as it is today, but an important cultural event, drawing scholars from many countries. He also got his hands dirty with the work of cataloging the incoming goodies from all over Europe; today, four catalog volumes of several hundred pages each are preserved in his own handwriting. To make the work easier and put the copies at proper eye-level, he ordered from an Augsburg carpenter a revolving book-wheel which can be seen (not revolving) today in the main hall.
At the time of August’s death in September of 1666, the same month as the Great London Fire, the Bibliotheca Augusta contained 134,000 items, among them the best publications of the 16th and 17th centuries. At that time, it was the largest library north of the Alps. In more than one Baroque encomium August was hailed the second “Prince of Peace,” and his library was declared by the Baroque poet Sigmund Birken to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” In 1989 it still has to be considered the richest and most comprehensive collection of the German Baroque, presumably comprising a clear majority of all German-language publications between the years 1600 and 1720. The minority of books missing from that period were consciously and systematically excluded, as much as we might wish a 100% comprehensive collection today. I might mention that there are two impressive and well-cataloged German Baroque literature collections in America, the Faber du Faur collection at Yale, and the Jantz collection at Duke. But we have to keep in mind that these two collections are late regroupings of the Baroque, while in a real sense, the Wolfenbüttel collection was the Baroque. The Faber du Faur and Jantz collections together amount to around 4% the size of the Baroque holdings in the Bibliotheca Augusta. (6100 compared to 150,000).
August’s son and successor was Anton Ulrich, perhaps best known today as a novelist. In 1713, the mathematician/philosopher Leibniz wrote a letter to this latest in the line of dukes, in which he compared the duke with God in the “best of all possible flatteries:” “…just as Your Majesty has not yet completed His Octavia novel, likewise Our God may still have a few more volumes to add to the book of life… nobody does a better imitation of our Lord than an inventor of novels…” At the time Leibniz wrote this, he was the head librarian at Wolfenbüttel, and Duke Anton Ulrich, according to whoever’s words you read, was either in the process of completing—or had already completed—a six-volume Octavia novel after having cranked out a five-volume, four-thousand page novel entitled “The Syrian Noble-Woman Aramena” forty years earlier.
There was more than a little method in Anton Ulrich’s madness, as he wove the messages of courtly and political grandeur, theodicy, the rights of those who rule and responsibilities of those who follow into his novels. These types of heroic-galant novels, mixing affairs of state with affairs of the heart, were to be called by a later German poet, Eichendorff, “encyclopedias gone wild.” In the second of these novels, for example, the wildly confusing and crisscrossing plot lines introduce 54 main characters and several hundred minor ones, leading up, several thousand pages later, to a narrative exit from the labyrinth and to 27 royal marriages. The duke Anton Ulrich is today considered one of the central heroic-galant novelists of the Baroque Age in Germany, and one of the first to depart from French and Spanish conventions to write distinctly German Baroque prose.
Anton Ulrich can be seen as the epitome of a nobleman writing politically realistic and historically accurate novels, since (1) such writing required access to a first-rate library, and (2) it placed the library in the position of being not only a consumer, but also a producer of late Baroque scholarship. Both Anton Ulrich and his father August had been active members in the illustrious Baroque literary institution, the Fruit-Bearing Society.1Slight twentieth-century tangent: due to a misunderstanding, one critical monograph on the Fruit-Bearing Society showed up unexpectedly in the botany section of our library, though the society was literary. Even Anton Ulrich’s tutor in his early years, Georg Justus Schottelius, became famous as the “father of German grammar.”
The period of Leibniz’s tenure as head librarian from 1690 to 1716 was highly successful. During this time, he convinced Anton Ulrich that a separate library building should be constructed. Previously, the collection had been housed in two halls above the Ducal stables. August had loved horses and books, and it seemed natural to house both under the same roof. The building that resulted from Leibniz’s prodding was a late Baroque rotunda with a cupola. This had the distinction of becoming the first separate / secular / library building in Europe, and it undoubtedly served as a model for other libraries.
Whereas Duke August had opened his library only to ecclesiastics and other privileged persons, Leibniz made the holdings available to a much wider public, believing that a more universal kind of learning should result from the books that had been gathered at such expense. To symbolize this, a celestial globe was placed above the cupola. To provide access for the greater demand, Leibniz also created an alphabetical catalog which allowed the quick retrieval of any volume. This catalog is still in use, making an early-modern complement to the library’s dedicated cable to the computing center at the University of Göttingen. Over two centuries before Melville Dewey, as Leibniz’s posthumous papers show, he had also conceived a decimal plan of arrangement allowing for infinite expansion.2Could it be that the Dewey decimal system was plagiarized from the posthumous papers of Leibniz? The one project of Leibniz that failed was his request to heat the library rotunda during the winter months. (In retrospect, the decision not to heat may have been a wise one, since the building was made of wood and an inviting target for potentially the costliest fire in the history of Lower Saxony.)
Leibniz was not a librarian in name only who left the work to others, not a proto-Librarian of Congress, but an active traveler and seeker of publications. Some claim that Leibniz’s contributions in gathering the major literature of the early Enlightenment can be favorably compared to that of Duke August’s acquisition of Baroque materials. The Wolfenbüttel collection as a whole still held the admiration of the continent. The correspondence of the famous lover (and sometime scholar) Giacomo Casanova later in the century reveals the common knowledge in Italy of the 1760’s that the library was the third largest in Europe. In one letter, Casanova counted the eight days in Wolfenbüttel among the happiest of his life, which, considering the source, is high praise.
After Leibniz came the further “Age of Reason” and the emergence of another famous librarian at Wolfenbüttel, the dramatist, philosopher, and essayist, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, who spent his last 11 years of life there. At first, he lived in rooms of the Ducal castle, which was empty at the time, the court having moved to Braunschweig in 1753. It was in these rooms of the castle that he completed the play “Emilia Galotti.” From the resources of the library he was able to publish a number of scholarly essays and edit a six-volume set with the title: “On History and Literature. Taken from the Treasures of the Ducal Library at Wolfenbüttel.” After an extended trip by way of Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Vienna to Italy, Lessing returned to Wolfenbüttel as Court Counselor, married Eva König and moved with her into a renovated three-wing home next to the library rotunda. After Eva died in this house in 1778, Lessing did his further creative work in the room where she had died. In this room he pieced together his literary masterpiece of tolerance, Nathan der Weise (Nathan the Wise).
To some extent, Lessing’s contribution to the library was a symbolic one which put the ultimate stamp of immortality on the threshold. Book funds were no longer plentiful, a natural consequence of the court itself having moved from Wolfenbüttel to Braunschweig. The glory days of collecting were past, and it was time to trumpet a little of that glory. Part of Lessing’s achievement was in the trumpeting, in arranging for the publication of a large number of previously unsung manuscripts.
The three main repositories of Lessing manuscripts and correspondence are the German State Library in East Berlin, the university library at Wrocław in Poland (formerly known as Breslau), and the Duke August Library in Wolfenbüttel, not necessarily in that order. Microfilms of the Berlin and Wrocław manuscripts are available in Wolfenbüttel.
After Lessing, the library went into a sort of limbo for almost two centuries. With the rapid growth of science in the 19th century, it became impossible for Wolfenbüttel to aim for universality in its collections any longer. Purchases were very modest, and the library had come to a virtual standstill. Other libraries connected with large cities or centers of learning, such as the University Library in Göttingen or the State Library in Berlin, quickly passed it by, at least in regard to size and with respect to current literature. In the words of Lessing, “without deeds there is no history,” and so the library for a time had very little history.
The library had been fortunate to remain undamaged by European wars. The only losses were minor. During the Seven Years War, the Duc de Richelieu placed the library under his own personal protection; only three maps were taken, for which the library still holds a receipt. During the Napoleonic Wars, 400 of the choicest volumes were taken to the Imperial library in Paris. Every piece was recovered after 1815, only one or two of which were discovered to be counterfeit.
In the Wilhelminian period there was a temporary spurt of enthusiasm, during which the wooden building built in Leibniz’s day was demolished, and the present stone building was constructed in a slightly different location. It was given a little glitter when Wilhelm Raabe used it for writing two of his novels, and when it was frequented by Wilhelm Busch. Then the library was forgotten again, and there was little financial support or even decent maintenance. The collection survived World War II stored in salt mines. In 1954, ownership reverted from the last reigning duke to the state of Lower Saxony.
From 1950 to 1968, the director of the Library was Erhart Kästner. He had already gained a measure of fame as a writer, and he’s best known — if known at all — for his novel The Tent Book of Tumilad. The most quoted passage from the novel—if quoted at all—is the phrase: “Jedermann braucht etwas Wüste” (“Everybody needs a little bit of desert”). Kästner had been a prisoner of war in the Arabian desert, where the loneliness and emptiness had allowed him (or forced him) to develop memory and imagination; the images of the past, of art and science, had filled his otherwise sandy days. Likewise, symbolically, Wolfenbüttel had spent its more than forty years in the wilderness of scholarly neglect and was ready to blossom again. On the one hand, Kästner ventured to put together a special collection of modern art books, leaves, and portfolios — including works of Picasso, Chagall, Braque, Matisse, and Dalí.
The rebirth was not to be mainly as an actively collecting institution, but as a repository and scholarly access point for its treasures of Early Modern Europe. One natural step was to equip a modern preservation workshop. Kästner’s main accomplishment can be summarized as bringing the physical surroundings into harmony with the intellectual content. He started and finished a building program that renovated interiors, exteriors, and whatever happened to lie between. This allowed for a careful three-way division between the oldest, the Helmstedt holdings (basically the acquisitions of Julius and Henry Julius); the most illustrious, the Baroque collection of Duke August; and the largest, so-called Central Inventory of items acquired since the beginning of the Eighteenth Century. Kästner arranged for four distinct exhibit halls, of which the main one, the Augustean hall, is a library within a library, a showpiece within a showpiece.3Or, as the minister said in the movie Princess Bride: “a dweam wiffin a dweam.” As an example of this dream, one of the 12 glassed-in exhibits designed to astound is a Bible opened to a page displaying Martin Luther’s handwritten marginal notes.
Like Moses, Kästner himself never actually crossed the Jordan from the desert into the scholarly Promised Land flowing with milk and subsidized honey. An extensive research program only really began with his successor, the present director, Paul Raabe. Raabe is the compiler of an introduction to the bibliography of German literature, now in its 10th edition, an 18-volume index to German Expressionism, and numerous other monographs and articles. As a scholar rather than a creative writer, he was perhaps the logical choice to guide the library into an era of research activity.
To help neutralize the effects of geographic isolation, Raabe has developed two levels of use for the Duke August library that complement each other. On the one hand, for the layman and tourist, who, like me, is naive enough to be impressed by staring through a glass case at old books attributed to famous people, it is a museum, complete with admission price of 3 Marks. It is a backdrop for exhibits, lectures, festivals, and musical performances.
Paul Raabe has expressed the idea that history should not be put under lock and key. For scholars, on the other hand, looking for unique sources of Early Modern Europe in fields ranging from medieval music to the culinary arts of the Enlightenment, it is a research library in the modern, American sense of the phrase. One British scholar has said of Wolfenbüttel that it is the first in Europe to take a direction comparable to that of independent research libraries in the United States such as the Folger, the Huntington, the Newberry, that is, to maintain high culture in a mass democracy. Another writer with more of a flair for Greek has called Wolfenbüttel “an emerging modern Bibliothecopolis.” The current director Raabe prefers to call it a Gelehrtenrepublik, a republic of scholars.
The critical mass of materials and scholars has spawned a number of organizations and working groups, one for Baroque literature in 1972; for the history of the book and for 18th century studies, both in 1975; for Renaissance research in 1976; and for library history in 1979. There is also an active program to publish research findings involving 12 different journals and monographic series and other individual publications as necessary, up to 30 a year.
Financial support since 1981 has come from the state of Lower Saxony and the Volkswagen Foundation, which started subsidizing research six years before the state got around to it.4Next time you buy a Jetta GTI, you’ll be advancing the cause of culture. Over the past 11 years, the Library has been able to offer grants for research visits ranging from two months to a year. Recent statistics show that 448 scholars took advantage of these grants from 1978 to 1987; 137 of these came from the Federal Republic, with the US in second place at 91, Poland in third with 64, followed by Great Britain, Italy, France, Hungary, and a long list of other countries. In these ten years there were 4 scholars from the Soviet Union and unfortunately only 2 from the German Democratic Republic, a trend that I hope is changing.
If you personally are interested in looking more closely at the reborn Renaissance, the reformed Reformation, the flamboyant Baroque, or the rational Enlightenment, then the Duke August Library might be a stimulus to your research.
Fletcher, J. “Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel,” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 5 (Dec. 1974): 182-94.
Fletcher, J. “Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel Revisited,” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 10 (June 1979): 173-175.
Fletcher, J. “Where the scholar is King, or, The Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel,” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 17/5 (1986): 149-60. (cited: LibLit 1987, p. 249).
Hobson, A. Great Libraries (New York: Putnam, 1970): pp. 202-211.
Milde, Wolfgang. “Library at Wolfenbüttel, from 1550 to 1618,” Modern Language Review 66 (Jan. 1971): 101-112.
Milde, Wolfgang. Mittelalterliche Handschriften der Herzog August Bibliothek (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1972).
Raabe, Paul, ed. Die Herzog August Bibliothek als Museum (Wolfenbüttel: the Library, 1970).
Raabe, Paul, ed. Die Herzog August Bibliothek. Wolfenbüttel: Bestände. Kataloge. Erschliessung (Wolfenbüttel: Heckner, 1971).
Raabe, Paul, ed. Wolfenbütteler Beiträge: Aus den Schätzen der Herzog August Bibliothek (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1972).
Revelstad, M. V. “Wolfenbüttel—an Emerging Modern Bibiothecopolis,” Libri 29 (Oct. 1979): 219-230.
see: Vodosek, P. “Pädagogische Provinz, Kastalien oder öffentliche Wissenschaft? Das Wolfenbütteler Bibliotheksquartier,” Buch und Bibliothek 34 (Okt. 1982): 758-63.
Willison, I. R. “Idea of a Research Library,” Times Literary Supplement no. 3872 (May 28, 1976): 655.
DUKE AUGUST LIBRARY IN WOLFENBÜTTEL (HERZOG AUGUST BIBLIOTHEK)
Major Characters for our story (Mortal):
The town of Wolfenbüttel
Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1.5.50 / G.V.W.G. / I.H.Z.B.V.L.)
Duke Henry Julius of Braunschweig-Lüneburg
Duke August the Younger of Braunschweig-Lüneburg
Duke Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig-Lüneburg
Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing/
Major Characters for our story (Immortal):
Syriac Gospel (600 A.D.)
105 Alsatian manuscripts Evangeliary of Henry the Lion ($20,000,000)
Sachsenspiegel (around 1230)
Ulrich Boner’s Edelstein (1461)
Martin Luther’s writings
Correspondence between Luther and Melanchthon Gutenberg Bible
Monastic manuscripts from Melk in Austria
Monastic manuscripts from St. Andrews in Scotland
A saga from Iceland
Baroque books like you wouldn’t believe…
The maps of Martin Waldseemüller
Quarto Hamlet (1634)
Letter of Increase Mather about the Christian Indians of New England (1699)
Duke Anton Ulrich’s encyclopedic Octavia novel (1707)
Notebooks of Leibniz
Correspondence and manuscripts of Lessing
Erhärt Kästner’s Tent-Book of Tumilad (1949)
18-volume index to German Expressionism —and 600,000 similar items—
Minor Characters for our story (Mortal and Immortal):
Various other Dukes
The town of Helmstedt
The city of Braunschweig5“Brunswick” sounds too much like a bowling ball.
Matthias Fladus Illyricus
Maria Theresia of Austria
The Fruit-Bearing Society
Eva Lessing, née König
Duc de Richelieu
Eichendorff, the Romantic Poet
Napoleon on his way through Europe6Pausing to pound on Braunschweig
Various French painters
Sotheby’s auction house in London
Various North American repositories
The Volkswagen Foundation
The State of Lower Saxony
The minister from The Princess Bride
Early modern European humanity
(images courtesy of Richard Hacken)