in the Schweinfurt Town Archives
For many of his German contemporaries Friedrich Rčckert (1788‑1866) was the most eminent German-language poet. Today a wider audience knows him, above all, through the setting to music of his "Kindertodtenlieder" by Gustav Mahler. His merits as a scholar and translator, including his "masterly adaptations of middle and far eastern poems" (Annemarie Schimmel) are, along with his Qu'ran translation, widely honored in the academic world.
AThe Rčckert Collection in the Schweinfurt Town Archives@ contains 22,000 manuscripts as well as 547 of his letters and the records of his life, such as publishers= contracts and documents. The sheer mass of this material is overwhelming. It includes about 5,500 poems and numerous notes, for example on the various languages that Rčckert studied, as well as the transcripts of complete works, such as the Qu'ran translation or the dramas. A classification of the sources into a literary genre is hardly possible because the reciprocal interdependencies are very narrow: poetical translations, adaptations, language studies and his own poems flow into each other without boundaries.
The majority of the Rčckert autographs in the Archives have not yet been subjected to academic editing. In view of the scope and the complexity of the sources, interested scholars around the world are presented with a task that will occupy them for many years to come. The microfiche edition and the digitization of these sources now makes academic editing of the holdings feasible, especially as many of the originalsBoften loose sheets written in pencil and on the verge of disintegratingBshould no longer be handled.
A 300‑page printed catalog, published by the Schweinfurt Town Archives in the 1990s, describes the individual elements of Rčckert's literary legacy. It is provided with the microfiches and will add advanced research information to the detailed search options of the Download Service to this collection.
Microfiche Edition with PDF‑ Download Service
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Microfiches for long‑term preservation; E‑books (PDF) for daily use
The complete set of Rčckert autographs is being published simultaneously in two formats: microfiches and e-books. The price for the set includes delivery of 304 silver halide microfiches, a copy of the printed catalog, MARC21‑records (on a disc), and free access to the e-book edition via the PDF-Download Service. This new concept ensures that libraries are able to fulfill their long‑term collection obligations and at the same time provide the electronic copies that today's library users require. As a physical object on the library=s shelves the microfiche edition provides long‑term access to its contents without having to depend on publishers, service providers or special technology.
An additional download service provides customers with e‑books (PDF) for their use. Each e‑book may be used for up to six weeks at a time. There are no restrictions on how often a specific work may be downloaded. (An e-book consists of an individual volume or selected segments of the collection as required by the user.)
With the combination of analog and digital media the library doesn=t have to choose between online access and permanence; no choice between the needs of today and a sustainable collection management policy has to be made. The microfiche edition plus download service meets both challenges.
in the Schweinfurt Town Archives
Rčckert was born at Schweinfurt, the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local gymnasium and at the universities of Wčrzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816 to 1817 he worked on the editorial staff of the Morgenblatt at Stuttgart. He spent nearly the whole of the year 1818 in Rome, and afterwards he lived for several years at Coburg (1820 ‑1826). He was appointed a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Erlangen in 1826, and, in 1841, he was called to a similar position in Berlin, where he was also made a privy councillor. In 1849 he resigned his professorship at Berlin, and went to live on his estate, Neuses (near Coburg).
When Rčckert began his literary career, Germany was engaged in her life‑and‑death struggle with Napoleon. In his first volume, Deutsche Gedichte (German Poems), published in 1814 under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar, he gave, particularly in the powerful Geharnischte Sonette (Sonnets in Arms/Harsh Words), vigorous expression to the prevailing sentiment of his countrymen. During 1815 to 1818 appeared Napoleon, eine politische KomÜdie in drei Stčcken (Napoleon, a Political Comedy in Three Parts)‑‑only two parts of which were published; and in 1817 Der Kranz der Zeit (The Wreath of Time). He issued a collection of poems, ůstliche Rosen (Eastern Roses), in 1822; and from 1834 to 1838 his Gesammelte Gedichte (Collected Poems) were published in six volumes, a selection from which has passed through many editions.
Rčckert, who was master of 30 languages, made his mark chiefly as a translator of Oriental poetry and as a writer of poems conceived in the spirit of Oriental masters. Much attention was attracted by a translation of Hariris Makamen in 1826, Nal und Damajanti, an Indian tale, in 1828, Rostem und Suhrab, eine Heldengeschichte (Rostem and Suhrab, a Story of Heroes) in 1830, and Hamasa, oder die Őltesten arabischen Volkslieder (Hamasa, or the Oldest Arabian Folk Songs) in 1846. Among his original writings dealing with Oriental subjects are:
MorgenlŐndische Sagen und Geschichten (Oriental Myths and Poems) (1837)
Erbauliches und Beschauliches aus dem Morgenland (Establishments and Contemplations from the Orient) (1836‑1838)
Brahmanische ErzŐhlungen (Brahmin Stories) (1839).
The most elaborate of his works is Die Weisheit des Brahmanen (The Wisdom of the Brahmins), published in six volumes from 1836 to 1839. The former, and Liebesfrčhling (Spring of Love) (1844), a cycle of love‑songs, are the best known of all Rčckert's productions.
After his death many poetical translations and original poems were found among his papers, and several collections were published. Rčckert had a splendor of imagination that made Oriental poetry congenial to him, and he has seldom been surpassed in rhythmic skill and metrical ingenuity. There are hardly any lyrical forms which are not represented among his works, and in all of them he wrote with equal ease and grace.
Rčckert's poetry was a powerful inspiration to composers and there are about 121 settings of his workBbehind only Goethe, Heine and Rilke in this respect. Schubert, both Robert Schumann and Clara Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Zemlinsky, Hindemith, BartŚk, Berg, Hugo Wolf and Heinrich Kaspar Schmid are probably the greatest of the composers who set his works to music, and there are several others.
The Friedrich‑Rčckert‑Autographs in the Schweinfurt Town Archives
Microfiche Edition with PDF‑Download Service
ISBN 978‑3‑89131‑502‑6, 2008 (Now available)
23,640 sheets on 304 microfiches (silver), with Catalog and MARC21‑records........................ i 3,500
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