31 May 2017

A Side Trip to Friedrich Schiller and Paul Celan Starting from the Golden City of Pforzheim (407 km)

(Pforzheim, 30.05.2017 - 31.05.2017) Due to its jewelry and watch-making industry, Pforzheim has gained its nickname "Golden City", while Marbach am Neckar, 52 km further east, is referred to as "Schiller Town". Not without good reason since on November 10, 1759, Friedrich Schiller was born just here.

Although Schiller moved away as a child, he is commemorated in Marbach and consequently, at the peak of Schiller Heights, a spacious park and museum area, we discover the Schiller Monument erected as early as 1876.

Just a few steps down the hill, our walk leads us to the Schiller National Museum, "not merely a literature museum, but also a literature archive, dedicated to the purposes of education and scholarship."

The Schiller National Museum is located next door to the Museum of Modern Literature (LiMo), displaying "the most prized and curious items from the inventories of the German Literature Archive on the twentieth century and the present day. For instance, it has manuscripts of Kafka's 'Trial', Döblin's 'Berlin Alexanderplatz', Hesse's 'Steppenwolf' or Kästner's 'Emil and the Detectives',  as well as certificates, identification cards, notebooks, photo albums, favourite books and mementos of poets and philosophers."

Both the Schiller National Museum and the Museum of Modern Literature are essential parts of the German Literature Archive, which "is one of the most significant literary institutions in the world."

"Book collections represent perhaps the most significant source of inspiration and the preferred work environment for authors. Poets and scholars do not work autonomously and unconditionally, but rather consciously strive to continue or correct knowledge already available and archived in books. Authors' libraries are indispensible for the production of new literature and new knowledge. [...] Among the prominent and most-used authors’ libraries in the German Literature Archive Marbach are the book collections of Gottfried Benn, Hans Blumenberg, Paul Celan, Ernst Jünger, Reinhart Koselleck, Siegfried Kracauer, Martin Heidegger, Hermann Hesse and W. G. Sebald. Over the past years, central authors’ libraries have been indexed according to current criteria of provenance research." Paul Celan's Authors' Library contains 4,697 books, periodicals and special prints and I'm doing my utmost to make an overall inventory available to the public.

The cultural side trip to Marbach am Neckar and the research of Paul Celan's Authors' Library took me more time than scheduled, so from the "Golden City" of Pforzheim just the golden sunset remains.

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