Friday, August 24, 2012

Ehrismann online

One of the first sessions of my first graduate-level course in medieval German literature at the University of Illinois involved a trip to the library, where Rick Wright showed us the most important research tools for medieval topics. There was an online catalog, but it didn't include everything in the old card catalog, so that had to be searched separately. Upstairs in the Modern Languages Library there was the new Verfasserlexikon, but it was not yet complete, while the old Verfasserlexikon, we were told, still had value as an independent if older summary of research on medieval German authors.

Another one of those older but still important reference works was Gustav Ehrismann's Geschichte der deutschen Literatur bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters, which was the best source for accessing older scholarship. For some topics, older scholarship was the only scholarship, and even if it wasn't, older scholarship shouldn't be ignored.

But Ehrismann is only held by around 100 libraries in the U.S. Many American universities, including my own, don't have a copy. Fortunately, the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf just digitized the whole set, so everyone can consult it without having to drive some distance to consult it (in my case, it would be over 100 km). The first place to look for digital editions like this is the Zentrales Verzeichnis Digitalisierter Drucke, but it doesn't list this one yet.

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Uni Augsburg is alive! It released a new digital edition this week, a fourteenth-century fragment of the Roman de la Rose. Still nothing new from Uni München.

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