Friday, February 20, 2015

How atypical are the editions in Eric White's census of print runs?

In the introduction to his census of known fifteenth-century print runs, Eric White cautions against taking his results as representative for all incunables:
As the census will make immediately apparent, a large percentage of editions for which we know the print runs were produced to fulfill institutional functions.... Remunerative and relatively risk-free for printers, the original commissions for projects such as these tended to end up in surviving archives, and they tended to afford very large editions. It should be noted, therefore, that the print runs known from such institutional commissions do not represent a normative cross-section of fifteenth-century press production, but rather a selection of large scale projects carried out with institutional funding and pressure to produce. As a group they almost certainly reflect higher-than-average print runs.... Moreover, the majority of the recorded print runs reflect the output not of the ‘average’ printing shop, but rather that of a few exceptionally successful publishers who received commissions from well-funded institutions. It is worth remembering that a documented print run may not be a representative print run.
White's characterization of his sample is correct. Compared to all recorded incunables in the ISTC, folios are much more prevalent in the print run census, while quartos are underrepresented, and broadsides do not appear at all.
Comparison of format distribution 

For each format, the books are also substantially longer, with the average number of leaves 60-100% higher than for the ISTC as a whole. (NB: Averages can be a misleading way to describe the distribution of leaf counts, but they give a correct impression in this case.)

Comparison of average leaf count by format

White's suggestion that the sample of known print runs enjoyed a better survival rate than other incunables is also correct, with an average number of surviving copies 20-65% higher than what one finds for the ISTC as a whole. (NB: Averages can be even more misleading for describing survival rates.)
Comparison of average surviving copies by format

This doesn't mean that we should ignore White's census of print runs as an atypical sample, however. Rather, we can say that its sample differs from the body of known incunables in various ways, some of which have well-understood effects. For example, the size and format of editions in White's sample are larger on average than for the ISTC as a whole, and the included editions likely benefited from association with an institutional sponsor, all of which are associated with higher survival rates than other fifteenth-century printed books, so that we would expect the survival rate for White's sample to be higher than for the ISTC as a whole.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Paper and parchment manuscripts in the Handschriftencensus

The graph below shows in purple the number of parchment manuscripts recorded per half-century, while paper manuscripts are in red. The height of each bar represents the number of total manuscripts. Other people have done this graph before, and done it better.

What's interesting about this is the source of the underlying data: Its records are primarily concerned with German vernacular texts, so the graph is less interesting for general book history, but all the more interesting for German Studies. The Handschriftencensus makes no claims to completeness, but it does represent the result of many years of thorough effort by competent experts. As the Handschriftencensus records were never intended as data sources, I've needed to clean up and massage the records into a useable form. In this case, I've compelled vague or multiple datings into a single number, rather than relying only on precise dating. I've included the sixteenth century in the graph, but the small number of manuscripts there does not reflect a decline in manuscript production, but instead only a decline in the number of post-medieval manuscripts that are of interest for medieval German literature.

If nothing else, the graph nicely illustrates the extreme scarcity of manuscripts from the Old High German period, and the sudden rise of paper and decline in parchment at the turn of the fourteenth century. This is already well known, but for an initial attempt to treat a new information source as data,unsurprising results are welcome. provides electronic records for over 20,000 manuscripts, and there are undoubtedly more interesting results waiting to be found among them.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Notes on the bibliography of Johannes Rasch

The bibliography of Johannes Rasch's polemical prophetic compilations give us a view of canon formation for prophetic works in the late sixteenth century, a Catholic counterpart to the Egenolff collections of the 1540s. I know the primary sources used by Johannes Rasch for his polemical compilations fairly well, but taking a close look at them turned up a few surprises, including
  • the Onus ecclesie, ostensibly from a Catholic source, seems to have been passing into obscurity just over sixty years after its publication;
  • two editions, one of Birgitta of Sweden's revelations and another compilation of Wolfgang Lazius, that are not listed in VD16 but that can be found in Prague;
  • references to an unknown work of Joseph Grünpeck and three other unknown works; 
  • reference to a sixteenth-century edition of the Bildnuß eines nackenden Kaisers und Bapsts sixty years before the currently known editions; and
  • indications that several editions of Rasch's work currently dated to 1584 need to be re-dated to 1584.
In addition, it's interesting to see where Rasch drew his sources from. Although he was working in Vienna, his sources were most frequently printed in Nuremberg (10), Cologne (9), Strasbourg (5), and Munich (6), compared to five editions printed in Vienna. The number of international editions is low, with just one edition each from Antwerp (plus one lost edition), Bologna, Cracow, and Rome. No place of printing is known for seven editions, of which three are lost.

The dates of Rasch's sources are interesting. Only three are incunabula. One large group of his sources comprises those from recent decades, 1560-1588, with another large group around 50 years old, printed between 1520 and 1540.

Finally, it's interesting to note which editions apparently known to Rasch are lost to us today. The graph below marks the lost editions in red.
All of the editions he mentions up to 1520 can be identified today, and there are only two missing editions before 1550 (the lost work of Grünpeck, and an unknown Latin edition of Lichtenberger's Prognosticatio). The other seven lost editions are all from relatively recent years, with six printed after 1560. This is relevant to how we model the disappearance of printed editions, as it suggests that while there are processes that lead to the loss of editions over the space of several decades or centuries, the most common processes of destruction operate over the space of a few years or decades. It would be interesting to see if a close look at other sixteenth-century book lists would lead to similar results.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Johannes Rasch: A bibliography of his sources, version 0.45

[Update 6 February 2015: I have made a few small changes to the list of sources. Discussion has been moved to a separate post.]

For our knowledge of sixteenth-century prophetic works, Johannes Rasch is an interesting figure. His responses to various controversial works are not extensive, but he collects and cites from many different sources, and he takes a more critical view than Wolfgang Lazius, who was active in Vienna thirty years before Rasch. Most importantly, Rasch often includes a list of his sources, and many of them can be matched to known editions. What follows is an initial attempt to match Rasch's sources to printed works, with the hope that at the end we'll have a better idea of what was circulating in Vienna in the 1580s and what might be lost to us today.

The entries in Rasch's bibliographies are often numbered and begin with a title in German and/or Latin, the author, the format, and the place and year of publication if known. The final piece of information, taking the form of "pag. 8." for example, appears to give the number of quires in each edition, and the number is usually close if not always identical to the number of signatures found in known editions. As a bibliographer, Rasch is reasonably reliable, but not completely accurate in all cases. For the entries below, I've changed the order to give the author, title, place, and date of publication.

In one edition of Rasch's practica for 1588 (VD16 R 315), Rasch gives a list of authors he cites, and then notes that he has listed the authors of Latin printed works in his Liber vaticiniorum, while the German authors are listed in the index of his Gegenpractic. This note is significant, as it tells us to expect to find printed editions.

As for Rasch's own life and work, the situation isn't all that bad. There are a number of treatments of his biography and writings (see bibliography at the end of the post).

Sources cited by Rasch in the Gegenpractic of 1584, (VD16 R 302-303, 320)
  1. Wolfgang Lazius. Catalogus aliquot Vaticinorum... Vienna 1554.
    Not in VD16 or in most bibliographies of Lazius's work, but a copy does exist in the Czech National Library in Prague.
  2. Wolfgang Lazius. Fragmentum Vaticinii cuiusdam Methodii... Vienna 1547. VD16 ZV 9507
  3. Methodii episcopi et martyris Chronica. Von den letzen zeitten / von anfang und end der Welt / geschriben Anno Domini 250. Probably ISTC im00522000/GW M23054
    Rasch doesn't give any bibliographic information, but see the sources of the Vaticiniorum liber primus below.
  4. Julianus episcopus Tolet scripsit prognosticum futuri seculi Anno 450.
    Again, no bibliographic information, but this appears to be VD16 J 1046.
  5. (pseudo?)-Vincent Ferrer. De tribus prophetiis Danielis. Krakow 1527. USTC 240820, 240821, or 240828.
  6.  Pseudo-Vincent Ferrer. Drey erschröckliche prophecey Danielis...Item / Sanct Hipolitti Predig von dem end der Welt. Munich 1575 (octavo edition; not in VD16), 1582 (quarto edition, VD16 V 1211).
    Note that Rasch was the translator of the 1582 edition and presumably of the 1575 edition as well, but the 1575 octavo edition is otherwise unknown.
  7. Birgitta of Sweden. Bestättung der Offenbarung S. Brigitten / Burd der Welt genant. Nuremberg 1481. GW 4400, ISTC ib00676000.
  8. Birgitta of Sweden. Himlische offenbarung S. Birgitten / etc. Nuremberg 1502. VD16 B 5595.
  9. Birgitta of Sweden. Revelationes coelestes D. Birgittae, etc. Nuremberg 1517. Not in VD16.
    This appears not to be the smaller folio edition by Anton Koberger Jr. of the Revelationes in 1521, (VD16 ZV 25691), but another edition of 1517 not yet recorded in VD16. Like the 1554 edition of Lazius above, a copy is in the National Library in Prague.
  10. Joseph Grünpeck. Ein Spiegel der natürlichen / himlischen unnd prophetischen sehungen aller trübsalen / angst und not / die uber alle Ständ / Geschlecht und Gemaine der Christenheit / sonderbar so dem [Zodiac sign: Cancer] underworffen / und in dem 7. clima begriffen sein / in kurtzen tagen ergehn werden / Onus ecclesiae genant / Joseph Grunbeck Priester. Nuremberg 1508. VD16 G 3642.
    There is little doubt that Rasch is describing the first German edition of Grünpeck's work, but his addition that this work is known as the Onus ecclesiae is entirely erroneous.
  11. Welsch gattung / Windpractic. Strasbourg, 1513. VD16 W 1880.
  12. Newer außzug etlicher Prognostication unnd propheceyen... N.p. 1518. VD16 A 4439.
  13. Johannes Lichtenberger. Prognosticatio Joan. Liechtenberger...durans C. annos. Strasbourg 1526. Not in VD16? New editions of Lichtenberger's Prognosticatio are frequent in the 1520s, but none of them are from Strasbourg. In 1526, there are four editions, but the only Latin editions are by Peter Quentel in Cologne (VD16 L 1591 and L 1592). Rasch is again either describing a lost Strasbourg edition, or mixing up the place of printing.
  14. Theophrastus Paracelsus. Theophrasti Paracelsi wider Liechtenbergers weissag / etc. im buch Astronomica et Astrologica, auß dem buch der Weissager kunst. VD16 P 402.
  15. Kaiserliche Practica und Prognostication, auß allen alten Weissagungen / von 300 jaren her zusamen geschreiben / von Carolo V. Auch werden hierinn vil Wundergeschichten / in der Welt zukünfftig / durch den hochgelehrten Maister Alofresant zu Rhodis practi[ci]ret / etc. N.p., n.d. VD16 A 1934, ZV 415, or ZV 416.
  16. Johann Carion. Außlegung der verborgenen Weissagung Domini Johan. Carionis, von veränderung und zufelligem glück der höchsten Potentaten des Röm. Reichs. Nuremberg 1547. VD16 ZV 21897?
    Rasch mentions two editions, one with two quires (no format given) and a quarto edition of one quire. Neither corresponds exactly to ZV 21897, an octavo edition of 16 leaves, which is however the only known Nuremberg edition of 1547. There are numerous editions of 1546 and two more in 1548.
  17. (Pseudo-) Johannes Capistranus. Bildnuß eines nackenden Kaisers und Bapsts / gefunden in einem Felsen in Welschland 20. jar vor Christi geburt / auff den untergang des Reichs der Teutschen gedeutet / durch Capistranum. Anno 1460. und auch durch Carionem. Patenttafel / gedruckt 1556. N.p. 1556. Not in VD16, but cf. VD17 14:003063G.
    From the description, it's clear that Rasch is describing a work very similar to VD17 14:003063G, 39:148285H, and 23:258724U, although these were printed only in 1621, 1622, and 1663, respectively. So it's clear that Rasch definitely had access to a much earlier edition that is currently unknown to VD16.
  18. Cyprian Leowitz. De [conjunctionibus] magnis superiorum Planetarum... Lauingen 1565. VD16 L 1257.
  19. Matthaeus Zeise. Beschreibung und erklärung der schröcklichen / ungewöhndlichen / harechtigen / feurigen Sternen / so man Cometen nennet... Frankfurt 1578. VD16 Z 252.
  20. Wilhelm Misocacus. Prognosticon oder Practica auff das jar 1583... VD16 M 5481 or 5482; a third edition not in VD16.
    All three editions are by Jakob Rhode of Danzig.
  21. Geronimo Cardano. Ex Cardani supplemento Almanach et ex comment in quadripart. Ptolemaei: Seind hierin vil Sprüch angezogen wider die Sternkündiger / die von der Fürsten glück oder fall auß dem gestirn warsagen / dann dise zway Bücher seind bey den Astrologis in sunderm wehrt. N.p., n.d. VD16 C 940 or VD16 C 941?
    Both of these editions (published in Nuremberg by Johann Petreius in 1543 and 1547, respectively) might correspond to Rasch's description.
New sources cited by Rasch in his revised Gegenpractic
Rasch also published a thorough revision of his Gegenpractic (VD16 R 304-305) that included a new but unnumbered list of works cited. The first edition (R 304) is dated 1584 in VD16, but that cannot be correct. Rasch's dedicatory epistle is dated 1584 in R 304 (while it's dated 1588 in R 305), and his list of sources does not explicitly date any of them after 1584, so perhaps Rasch chose not to emphasize precisely when he was writing. But he does cite two editions of his own practica for 1588 (number 5 in the list below), and those two editions are dated 1587 and 1588, including a dedicatory epistle dated 18 April 1587 in both, and a signed date of 1588 in the case of R 315. So the first edition of the Gegenpractic, VD16 R 304, needs to be redated to 1588.

There is still one small mystery: Both editions are dedicated (with slightly different formulations of the royal titles) to Maximilian, archduke of Austria - who died in 1576. Why would Rasch dedicate a work of 1588 to a patron who died in the previous decade?

Unlike the list above, the numbering of the list below is my own.
  1. Johann Rasch. Gegenpractic / wider etlich ausgegangene warsagschrifften... Munich 1584. VD16 R 302-303, 320.
  2. Johann Rasch. Practica auff das jar 1588... Munich, 1587 = VD16 R 319. Graz, 1588 = VD16 R 318.
  3. Johan Nas. Concordia Alter unnd newer, guter, auch böser Glaubens strittiger lehren. Munich 1583. VD16 N 118.
  4. Joseph Grünpeck. Doctor Joseph Grunbecks Visiones auff das 29. 30 und 31. jar / und ain erklärung uber ein articl / darinn er durch etlich unverständige grobe klaffer gestrafft wierd / als sol er inn ainem büechlein / an den künig Ludwig in Ungarn unnd künigin Maria außgangen / treflich geirret und unwarhait anzait haben. 4. N. pag. 2. Not in VD16.
    This seems to be an otherwise unknown work by Joseph Grünpeck, from whom we have nothing between 1523 and his Prognosticum of 1532. It would appear to be a new prognostication and also a reply to a critique to his final judgment on the conjunctions of 1524, which was dedicated to the king and queen of Hungary (VD16 G 3629). It would of course be extremely interesting to see the critique of Grünpeck and his response.
  5. Joseph Grünpeck. Prognostication Doctor Joseph Grunbecks von dem 1532. jar an biß auff das 40. jar... Nuremberg 1532. VD16 G 3638 or G 3639.
  6. Weissagung der zwelff Sybillen / vil wunderbare zuekunfft von anfang biß zu end der weld besagende. Niachaula künigins von Saba prophecey. Merckliche künfftige ding von S. Brigitt / Cyrillo, Methodio, Ioachimo, brueder Reinhard / Johan Liechtenberger brueder Jacob aus Hispania, Doctor Joseph Grunbeck / Philippo Cataneo, beschriben auff jetzige und kunfftige zeit /etc. Frankfurt 1537. VD16 Z 945.
  7. Antonius Torquatus. Prognosticon...von änderung des gantzen Europae... Vienna 1535. VD16 ZV 25351.
  8. Antonius Torquatus. Prognosticon, Weissagung und urthail von betrübungen und grossen anfechtungen Europae..., translated by Caspar Goldwürm. Frankfurt 1558 and 1561. VD16 T 1584, VD16 T 1585.
  9. Alofresant. Ein prophecey und weissagung von den vier erben hertzogs Johansen von Burgund... N.p., n.d. VD16 A 1933 or A 1935.
  10. Johannes Trithemius. Von den siben geistern odern engeln / denen Gott die himel zu füeren von anfang der weld bevolhen hat. Ein warhafftig büechlein / darinn auß vergangnen zeiten / was kunfftig zu gewarten / erklärt und angezaigt ist / durch Joh. Trithaim und Jac. Pflaum. N.p. 1534. Quarto, ca. 20 leaves. VD16 T 2006.
    This is interesting - unique among editions of Von den Sieben Geistern, this one contains an extract from the prophecies attributed to Jakob Pflaum.
  11.  Georg Tanstetter. Tröstbüchlein. Wienna 1523. VD16 T 160.
  12. Esdra. Practica auff das 1544. jar. Strasbourg 1543. VD16 E 3966.
  13. Cyprian Leowitz and Samuel Eisenmenger. Prognosticon der fürnembsten ding so von dem 1564. biß auff das 1607. jar sich zuetragen werden / auß Cypriano und Siderocrate. N.p. 1567. Not in VD16, but cf. VD16 L 1272 and VD16 ZV 25875.
    No edition of this work from 1567 is known, but there are editions of 1564 and 1568.
  14. Cyprian Leowitz. Klärliche beschreibung und historischer bericht der fürnemsten grossen zusamen kunfft der obern planeten / etc. Lauingen, [apparently the edition of 1564]. VD16 L 1259.
  15. Johann Rasch. Cometen buech...darinn der dritte thail sagt von asgtrologen practic vom end der weld. Munich 1577. Not in VD16, but cf. VD16 R 310.
    Like Number 6 above, here is another work by Rasch published in the 1570s which is not found in VD16, but which is known from a (likely revised and expanded) edition of 1582.
  16. Paul Werner. Practic oder Prognosticon auff die zukunfftigen 1582. 83. 84. 85. jar. etc. auß den propheten Daniel / Ezechiel / und offenbarung S. Johannis. Basel 1581. Not in VD16.
    According to Rasch, a quarto edition of two gatherings or eight leaves. I can't find any reference to the title or author in the usual sources, so this looks like a true lost work.
  17. Otto Brunfels. Der Christen practic. Erfurt 1578.VD16 B 8485.
  18. Konrad Schomer. Siben bueßpredig von zuekunfftigen schrecklichen straffen... Lemgo 1584. VD16 S 3837(?).
    The edition known to VD16 is from 1583, so either Rasch is off by a year, or he had access to a later edition not recorded in VD16.
  19. Pseudo-Jakob Pflaum. Etlich weissag / zusamen getragen im jar. 1500... Wittenberg 1532. VD16 P 2400 or P 2401.
  20. Reimundus offenbarung / ist gefunden worden in ainem alten buech vor vil jaren geschriben / durch Cyrillum, Joachim / Birgitten / Francis. Reichard / und Methodium, etc... N.p. [Augsburg], 1532. VD16 ZV 11958.
  21. Wunderbarliche weissag von dem Papstumb / wie es im biß an das end der weld regehn soll / in figuren oder gmähl begriffen / gefunden zu Nürnberg im Cartheüsercloster / und ist sehr alt. N.p., 1527. VD16 W 4643-4645.
    This is interesting - Rasch, a Catholic, cites one of the more provocative uses of prophecy as Lutheran polemic from the height of the opening pamphlet wars of the Reformation. He manages this by reading the work as if it targeted Luther: "Sagt von dem vermainten Papste der Teutschen Saxen / der vol teüfels sein / und von dem rechten Papst wierd uberwunden und vertilgt werden."
  22. Dietrich von Zengg. Wunderbarliche Weissagung von vergangenen / gegenwertigen und zuckunfftigen dingen / durch brueder Dietrich Parfuesser münich / etwan Pischof zu Zug in Kracen (oder Zeng in Croatia) Anno 1410 offenbaret. N.p., 1536. VD16 T 737.
    Based on the parenthetical addition, Rasch knew at least one more printed edition of this work, either VD16 T 732 or T 734, and probably a manuscript version as well.
  23. Kurtze propheceyung oder practica was sich ungfährlich auff das 1587. und 88 jar zuetragen soll. durch Bilger Ruth im wald verborgen. item / Prophecey / gefunden in Mastrich bey Wilhe[l]m von Frieß. Cologne 1576. Probably VD16 ZV 28130 [1587].
    I would like to believe Rasch, as this would document the first appearance of "Friess II" in print, a year earlier than the earliest dated edition. Unfortunately, the editions of the Kurtze Propheceyung (combining a version of the "Toledo Letter" with extracts from Lichtenberger") that include "Friess II" are the later ones. The Kurtze Propheceyung went through several editions in 1586-87, and I have a hard time believing that one of them, focused on the years 1588, appeared a decade earlier. I suspect 1576 in Rasch's text is a mistake for 1587.
  24. Discurs, uber die groß coniunction der planeten des 1584. item / von veränderung weldlicher propheceyen / unnd ende der weld / auß H. Göttlicher Schrifft unnd Wiettenbergischen patribus, auch auß leüffen der natur / des 83. bis auff das 88 un 89. jar begriffen. Not in VD16.
    Rasch doesn't provide a place, date, format, or number of signatures. I can't find any reference to this title in the usual places.
Sources cited by Rasch in the Vaticiniorum liber primus (VD16 R 323)
According to Rasch, he reserved Latin works for the bibliography appearing here. Rasch's list of sources also includes several authors without any claim that they appeared in print, which I am omitting here. The numbering in the list below is also my own, and I am also omitting works already mentioned above.

Note that Rasch explicitly cites works printed in 1588 (see item 57 below), so it seems that the Vaticiniorum liber primus also needs to be redated from 1584 to 1588.
  1. Prophetia Abbatis de Flore Veneti (qui vixit ante annos 400.) de nostri temporis iconoclastis, miserandoque eroum exitu, insuper de reformatione et Unione ecclesiae, ante annos plures dimnitus producta et mirabiliter inventa. Iusti Iodoci Blankwald presbyteri. Antwerp tab. Col. 1567. Not in VD16.
    I'm not finding any references to Justus Jodocus Blankwald of Antwerp, or to a Cologne edition of Joachim of Fiore published in 1567. There are editions of 1570 and 1577, however,
  2. Titulus in libellum S. Methodii Martyris et episcopi Partinensis Graeciae: cum autenticis concordandtiis prophetiarum. Augsburg 1496. ISTC im00522000/GW M23054.
    This is a reference to the first edition of pseudo-Methodius to include Wolfgang Aytinger's tract, published in 1496 in Augsburg, and helps clear up the confusion surrounding number 3 on the first list above.
  3. Johannes Annius Viterbiensis. Prognostica M. Johan. Viterbien. de Imperiis, Christiano et Turcico. Nuremberg 1560. VD16 N 77.
    Rasch also lists a Nuremberg edition of 1471, but that seems to be taken not from personal knowledge but from the title forumulation of the 1560 edition.
  4. Johannes Lichtenberger. Prognosticatio. Strasbourg 1526 (not in VD16; see number 13 above), Cologne 1528 (VD16 L 1593).
  5. Cyprian Leowitz. De coniuntionibus magnis... Lauingen 1564. VD16 L 1257.
  6. Antichristus, sive Prognostica finis mundi, ex Mattaeo, Daniele, et aliis scripturae locis. Basel [ca. 1565]. VD16 A 2936-2937.
  7. Leonhard Krentzheim. Coniecturae piae et eruditae, de impendentibus in ecclesia et imperiis horum temporum mutationibus et calamitatibus... Görlitz 1580. VD16 K 2346.
  8. Antonius Torquatus. De eversione Europae... Nuremberg 1534. VD16 T 1578.
  9. Bartol Ðurđević. Prognoma sive praesagium Mehemetanorum, primum de christianorum calamitatibus, deinde de suae gentis interitu, ex Persica lingua in Latinum sermonem conversum. Antwerp 1545. NB 10557, USTC 404893.
  10. Theophrastus Paracelsus. Exposition vera imaginum olim Noribergae repertarum, ex Vaticiio magiae dedeucta... N.p. 1570. VD16 P 409.
  11. Marcus Wagner. Tres vetustissimae prophetiae de Germania, vivis coloribus tristem et miserabilem statum omnium rerum depingentes. N.p. 1579. VD16 W 133.
  12. Johann Wilhelm Stucki. Prognosticon, sive praedictio certissima, de Anno Christi. 1588. et iis quae sequentur... Zurich 1588. VD16 S 9780-9781.
  13. Philippus de Barberiis. Discordantiae sanctorum doctorum Hieronymi et Augustini; Sibyllarum et prophetarum de Christo vaticinia. Rome 1481. GW 3385-3386/ISTC ib00118000-ib00119000.
  14. Joachim de Fiore. Pauli principis de Scala, indubitata explanatio Vaticioniorum et imaginum Joachimi abbatis Florensis Calabriae... Cologne 1570. VD16 J 287.
  15. Prophetia pontificalis, cum figuris Joachimi Abbatis. Bologna 1515. USTC 763465.
  16. Joachim Camerarius. Commentatiuncula super Ovidii Versu, exitus acta probat... Leipzig 1572. VD16 C 373-374.
  17. Theodor Graminaeus. Mysticus Aquilo. declaratio vaticinii Jeremiae prophetae, Ab aquilone pandetur malum... Cologne 1576. VD16 G 2805.
  18. Joachim de Fiore. Abbatis Joachim divina in Jeremiam interpretatio, plurimis referta Vaticiniis... Cologne 1577. VD16 J 286.
  19. Aratus. Phaenomena et prognostica... Cologne 1569. VD16 A 3200.
  20. Trutina pacis, qua examen seu iudicium revolutionis annie praesentis 1579. astrologicum continetur... Cologne 1579. VD16 T 2133.
  21. Heinrich Efferhen. Homeliae 13 in caput 38 et 39 prophetae Ezechiel de Gog et Magog, seu de Turcis... Strasbourg 1571. VD16 E 565.

Secondary literature on Rasch
  • Barnes, Robin Bruce. Prophecy and Gnosis: Apocalypticism in the Wake of the Lutheran Reformation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), 161, 165.
  • Hille, Martin. Providentia Dei, Reich und Kirche: Weltbild und Stimmungsprofil altgläubiger Chronisten 1517–1618 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010), 146-47.
  • Schöne, Renate. Afterword to Johannes Rasch, Das Weinbuch: Nachdruck der Ausgabe um 1580 (Dortmund: Harenberg, 1981), 125–27.
  • Schottenloher, Karl. “Untergang des Hauses Habsburg, von Wilhelm Misocacus aus den Gestirnen für das Jahr 1583 vorhergesagt: Eine verkappte politische Flugschrift.” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 26 (1951): 127–33.
  • Smolinsky, Heribert. Deutungen der Zeit im Streit der Konfessionen (Heidelberg: Winter, 2000).
  • Wagner, Joseph Maria. “Oesterreichische Dichter Des XVI. Jahrhunderts,” Serapeum 25 (1864): 317–20 (on Rasch; the rest of Wagner's contribution extends across multiple issues). Nachträge, Serapeum 26 (1865): 123–24.

Friday, December 12, 2014

CFP: Medieval Media (Special Issue of Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies)

There's still more than two weeks left to submit an abstract for a proposed special issue of Seminar that Markus Stock and Ann Marie Rasmussen are putting together. The CFP sounds intriguing, and I think I have something that might fit their project. Now that we've reached the end of the semester, I should have time to work up an abstract.
Medieval Media. Special Issue of Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies
In recent years, the mediality of premodern and early modern literary and cultural communication has become a focal point in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Media of transmission, communication, and dissemination have received heightened scrutiny. Scholarship is expanding our understanding of ways in which different kinds of material objects serve as media, and there is renewed interest in the role played by materiality and mediality in the re-circulation, appropriation and adaptation of shared stories, images, and ideas. For a special theme issue of Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, we welcome contributions that take stock of this recent shift in scholarly attention and that probe questions of medieval and early modern mediality from broadly conceived disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. We seek to include contributions from a range of different fields in medieval and early modern studies, drawing on various frameworks and approaches, including: history; art history; literary studies; textual criticism; material studies; architectural history; editorial theory and practice; digital humanities. We are seeking contributions focusing on case studies as well as contributions discussing broader methodological questions.

Lines of inquiry may include:
  • Orality, writing, print: the simultaneity of medieval and early modern media.
  • Text and image reconceptualized as forms of intermediality.
  • Types of media material: stone, wood, parchment, wax, metal, voice.
  • Relationship between the media’s materiality and the semantics of texts or content more broadly construed.
  • Manuscripts as artefacts.
  • Rules, types, and situations of media use.
  • Histories and concepts of media.
  • Mediality in medieval and early modern Catholic religious thought (annunciation, incarnation, sacraments, liturgy).
  • Mediality in medieval and early modern Judaism and Protestantism (preaching; reading; use of images).
  • The body as medium.
  • The charisma of objects.
  • Remote communication (messengers, letters etc.).
  • Media within media: imitation, representation, and appropriation of different types of media in other media.
  • Premodern and early modern multi-media: song, dance, play, images, word, text.
  • Spaces and places of media use: court, castle, monastery, church, city houses, city streets, villages, etc.
  • The Where of the message: walls, books, bodies, badges, etc.
  • Social distribution of media use: media of peasants; burghers; nobles, of members of religious orders, etc.
  • Medieval texts and images in contemporary media (comic books; television; computer games; film).
  • Modern digital tools offering new research approaches to the medieval past.
Please send abstracts of ca. 250 words to both Ann Marie Rasmussen ( and Markus Stock ( by January 1, 2015. Decisions on inclusion will be made by February 1, 2015. The due date for the submission of articles will be July 1, 2015. All submissions will be subject to peer-review.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Online resources for teaching German dialectology

This last semester, I've had the chance to teach a phonetics/introduction to German linguistics course for undergraduate German majors. It's been a fun class. We used the second edition of Sally Johnson and Natalie Braber's Exploring the German Language as the primary textbook, which generally worked well. I found several points needing clarification in the chapter on the history of the German language, but fewer in other chapters.

For teaching about German dialects, I was fortunate to have two native speakers on campus who each came in to talk about their own local dialects and language use. But for class discussion of German dialects, it was a bit tricky to find material that was right for my students (and I'm still looking to add to the collection). Here's a list of things I thought were most useful.

Dialect atlases
  • Online Wenker-Atlas. I'm excited to finally have access to the Wenker maps, but the GIS-powered interface can require a lot of time to figure out how the interface works. Some background in Germanic linguistics and information technology is helpful.
  • Sprechender Sprachatlas von Bayern. This excellent project was user-friendly enough that I could send my students there and let them work independently. I wish there were similar projects for every German state.

Dialect maps
  • Statistik Schweiz. This page from the Swiss government offers several excellent dialect maps of Switzerland, as well as a wealth of other information about Switzerland.

Dialect texts
  • tz auf Bairisch. It was surprisingly difficult to find authentic texts that were not poems, proverbs, nineteenth-century literature, or about Christmas. For comprehensible dialect texts for my students, the dialect edition of a local Munich paper was just right.


  • American English Dialects. This dialect map of North America gives students an idea of American dialect geography.
  • NY Times Dialect Quiz. After looking at the static map, it was useful to go through this dialect quiz so that students could see how their personal and family history influenced the regional affiliation of how they spoke.
  • The Sounds of German. The old site is still incredibly valuable. Let's hope the site redesign now underway doesn't take anything away from that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Really early, very small, printed German literature (in the narrow sense)

If you want to look at the literary works that would have been accessible to the broadest range of people in the fifteenth century, then one place to start is with works printed in the vernacular and in smaller formats. In the vernacular, education is less of a barrier, and in the smaller formats (initially defined as broadsides, octavos, and quartos of less than 48 leaves), the economic challenge of acquiring literature is as low as it gets at the time. To look at the market for these works before printing reorganized the market for texts and the medium of the book, it makes sense to look only as late of 1480.

While I'm actually in favor of an expansive definition of literature and an inclusive approach to the objects of literary study, a narrow definition of literature is sometimes pragmatically necessary. We'll eliminate for now saints' lives and other devotional works, and pragmatic and educational texts (including history, current events, and the natural world).

Given those criteria, the resulting bibliography is quite short. It can be succinctly categorized like this:

Narrative works and literary classics
The first two clearly belong together. The Ackermann is an established part of the literary canon, but it's more similar in some ways to the humanist works below. On the other hand, the Ackermann and Pfaffe Amis have a considerable manuscript tradition, while the Pfarrer von Kahlenberg is only known in print.
  • Der Stricker, Pfaffe Amis (ca. 1478, GW M4411)
  • Philipp Frankfurter, Der Pfarrer von Kahlenberg (ca. 1480, GW 10287)
  • Johannes von Tepl, Der Ackermann von Böhmen (1463-1477, GW 193-198)
Humanist translations
These end up being the works of just two translators: Heinrich Steinhöwel and Nikolaus von Wyle.
  • Heinrch Steinhöwel/Fracesco Petrarca, Griseldis (1470-1480, GW M31576-78, M31580-81, M31583, M3158410, M31597)
  • Heinrch Steinhöwel, Apollonius of Tyre (1471, GW 2273)
  • Leonardus Aretinus/Nikolaus von Wyle, Guiscardus et Sigismunda (1476, GW 5643, 564210N)
  • Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini/Nikolaus von Wyle, Euryalus et Lucretia (1478, GW M33548)
  • Lucian/Nikolaus von Wyle, Der goldene Esel (1477-1480, GW M18985, M18988)
Hans Folz
For shorter literary works to 1480, Folz only makes it in by two years, but even in that short time he has too many titles to list.
  • Sixteen titles (in seventeen editions) from 1479-80
Border cases
These are works that might be excluded as devotional or educational works under a narrow definition of literature. As I prefer a broad definition, I'll include them here.
  • Die wunderbare Meerfahrt des hl. Brandan (1476, GW 5004)
  • Sibyllen Weissagung (1452, 1475; GW M41981, M41983)
  • Visio Fulberti (1473, GW 10422)
  • Wie Arent Bosman ein Geist erschien (1479, GW 4944)