Friday, December 30, 2011

Cyriacus Schlichtenberger

Recently I've been interested in the succession of best-selling prophetic pamphlets in the sixteenth century. A good example of what I mean is Josef Grünpeck's Prognosticum, a brief work of a few leaves that went through nine editions in at least six different cities in the space of one year. For the first half of the sixteenth century, I'm familiar with all the authors whose works experience a similarly sudden popularity from my research for Printing and Prophecy: Lichtenberger, Carion, Virdung, Paracelsus, Pürstinger, and Grünpeck. In the second half of the century, however, the best sellers are from an entirely different set of authors: Wilhelm Friess, Paul Severus, Nikolaus Weise, Georg Ursinus, Johann Hilten, Gregor Jordan, and Cyriacus Schlichtenberger.

I had been able to at least look at the texts from all of these except Cyriacus Schlichtenberger, for which no facsimile was available - until earlier this week. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek just digitized a copy of VD16 S 2999.

At first glance, I'm not quite sure I get this one. The text is precisely what the title promises: The report of a simple farmer's daughter who awakens at her own burial and tells about her post-death experiences before she dies again five days later. The signed editions are all from northern Germany rather than the usual major printing cities in southern Germany, so I may be missing something obvious.

Volker Leppin's Antichrist und jüngster Tag mentions Schlichtenberger several times, but notes that the alleged location in "Melwing" is not easily locatable on any map. One possibility that a quick search of Google Books suggests is that this is Elbing, now the Polish town of Elbląg.

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The winter semester starts next week, and I'll be at MLA for a few days, so posting may be light for a bit.

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