Recent Acquisition: Making a Pact with the Devil – Goethe’s Faust

by Julie Tanaka, Curator, Rare Books and Joe Ross, Original Cataloger for Special Collections

Enhancing the German literature holdings is the recent acquisition of Faust: Eine Tragödie, the first edition of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s work published in 1808 by J. G. Cotta’schen Buchhandlung in Tübingen.

Faust, the two-part epic poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), a masterpiece of German literature, reflects the transforming world in which Goethe lived. Begun in the waning years of the Holy Roman Empire (the final dissolution marked by the abdication of Francis II on August 6, 1806) and almost a century before the unification of Germany in 1871 into a nation-state, Goethe’s work exhibits his understanding of the world in upheaval—the revolutions in America and France and the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Romanticism in literature and art, the Kantian Revolution in philosophy, the Industrial Revolution in science, technology, and economics.

Goethe, drawing upon Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s call for German dramatists to establish their independence from the French and to treat the Faust tragedy as a specifically German theme began composing his version around 1773. Goethe’s work went through numerous stages. The earliest version, known as the Urfaust, was probably finished by 1775 and the next revision, known as Faust: Ein Fragment, appeared in 1790. After almost a decade, Goethe returned to Faust, adding the prologues, the second part of “Night”, and “Walpurgis Night.” This version now referred to as Part I was finished in 1806 and published two years later. Goethe continued to work on Faust sporadically in the 1820s and completed Part II in 1831 but sealed the completed manuscript—though he made a few final corrections in early 1832—to be published only after his death.

In composing Faust, Goethe drew upon the so-called Faust tradition of texts dating to the early Christian period, but this source base forms only a small part of what he used in his composition. Goethe anchors his Faust firmly in the European tradition, alluding to and parodying ancient Greek and Roman authors including Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus, Apollonius, and Ovid as well as the more contemporary figures of Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, and Calderón de la Barca.

This copy was bound by René Kieffer (1875-1964), one of the foremost Parisian binders of the early twentieth century. Kieffer was trained in classical techniques and worked as a gilder for a decade at the Chambolle-Duru bindery in Paris. After opening his own shop in 1903, he found new inspiration from the father-son binders Jean Michel (1821-90) and Henri François (1846-1925) in Paris. The influence of the latter’s use of curved stamps to work floral and leaf forms is evident in Kieffer’s work.

A fine example of Kieffer’s adoption of the Art Nouveau style, this copy of the first edition of Faust is bound in gilt-tooled green morocco over stiff paper boards. Four rectangular panels on the upper and lower boards display four central lily ornaments. Each rectangle has a floral ornament in the center with four lily corner-pieces. The covers bear a single gilt fillet border, and the spine is gilt-tooled morocco with five raised bands with panels that have a central rose with foliate ornaments on either side. “Goethe / Faust” in gilt lettering appears in the title panel at the top and the bottom panel bears 1808 below the floral ornament. Inside the book are brown morocco doublures (decorative linings, shown above) with a gilt broken circle. Lily ornaments break the line between the four large lily ornaments at top and bottom and either side. A single fillet border surrounds the five floral ornaments that form the upper and lower border. The free end-leaves are silken with diagonal beaded line grain, a full-page floral water-color on verso of free end-leaves. This fine volume is housed in a slip case also designed by Kieffer.

 

Works Consulted
  • Brown, Jane K. “Faust.” In The Cambridge Companion to Goethe. Edited by Leslie Sharpe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Pp. 84-100.
  • Sharpe, Leslie. “Introduction.” In The Cambridge Companion to Goethe. Edited by Leslie Sharpe Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Pp. 1-5.
  • Sanjuan, Agathe. Les éditions René Kieffer, 1909-1950. Paris: A. Sanjuan, 2002. <http://www.chartes.psl.eu/fr/positions-these/editions-rene-kieffer-1909-1950/>.
  • Arwas, Victor. Art Nouveau: The French Aesthetic. London: Andreas Papadakis Publisher, 2002.
  • Roberts, Matt, Don Etherington, and Walter Henry. “Michel, Marius.” In Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2003. <http://cool.conservation-us.org/don/dt/dt2225.html/>.

Recent Acquisition: Defending Papal Primacy

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

The Hesburgh Libraries’ Rare Books Collection has recently been enriched by an interesting title, Michel Lequien’s Panoplia contra schisma Graecorum (Paris, 1718).

Lequien (1661-1733), a French Dominican theologian writing under the pseudonym “Stephano De Altimura”, wrote this defense of papal primacy in order to refute the claims of Nektarios, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1661-1669, in a work first published in Greek in 1682. Nektarios’s book was later translated into Latin and printed in London in 1702, then reissued in 1717—we hold these editions in electronic format under the title: Tou pany kyr Nectarii…

We have discovered only two other North American library holdings of this response by Lequien.

Recent Acquisition: Spina’s 16th-century tracts on witchcraft

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

The Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an interesting addition to our already extensive holdings on the 16th-century Inquisition period in church history, Bartolommeo Spina’s Quaestio de strigibus (Romae, 1576). This title is actually comprised of three tracts on witchcraft written by the author around 1523, taking as his model Sprenger and Institoris’s Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of Witches”) from the late fifteenth century and emphasizing witches’ characteristic behavior in particular. A renewed interest in Spina’s works followed the establishment of the Roman Inquisition in 1542 and these tracts were collected for the first time in this edition. We count only four other North American libraries holding this initial publication of the title.

Recent Acquisition: the “Golden Book” of St. John Chrysostom

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an interesting and quite rare first edition by the great early Christian preacher and writer St. John Chrysostom (349-407). Usually referred to as his “Golden Book” in English translations, De educandis liberis liber aureus (Paris, 1656) discusses the Christian education of children. Printed in parallel Greek and Latin translation, the latter was added by the book’s Dominican editor, Francois Combefis. In the preface, Combefis notes that he had discovered the manuscript of the work in the collection of Cardinal Mazarin, who was responsible for the upbringing of the young Louis XIV, and expresses the hope that it will be useful for his education.

Interestingly, this tract was not included in collected editions of Chrysostom’s works because its authenticity was questioned, and it was not until 1914 that a new edition of the Greek text was issued by Franz Schulte (which Hesburgh Libraries holds in its general collection). This seventeenth-century “editio princeps” is held by only two other North American libraries.

Recent Acquisition: Hugo Achugar Papers

by Hannah E. Sabal, Processing Archivist for Special Collections

The Hugo Achugar Papers have been recently described and are open to students and researchers.

Hugo Achugar (1944-) is a Uruguayan literary critic and prolific writer of poetry and essays. He has held teaching positions at universities in both Latin America and the United States, including Universidad de la República, Uruguay; Universidad Católica, Venezuela; Northwestern University; and Dartmouth College. He currently serves as a member of the Emeritus Faculty at the University of Miami. Some of Achugar’s better-known works include Ideologías y estructuras narrativas en José Donoso, 1950-1970, a literary essay on the works of José Donoso; Hueso Quevrado (cuaderno de la Bahía), a collection of poetry; and Falsas Memorias: Blanca Luz Brum, a fictionalized account of the life of Blanca Luz Brum.

Conference Materials, 1991, 2008

The collection consists of manuscripts, photographs, clippings, and journals, all forming a record of Achugar’s professional career. Included are correspondence, notes and research files, lecture and conference materials, and poetry. The collection also includes Achugar’s personal library, which will soon be cataloged.

“Hueso Quevrado (Cuaderno de la Bahia),” Drafts, 2004-2006 (folder 1)

The highlight of the collection is the series of articles and drafts, comprised of drafts of both published and unpublished essays, poetry, and fiction. For some works, there are multiple drafts written at different points in time, allowing researchers to follow Achugar’s writing process. For example, in the series exist various drafts, notes, and preparatory materials for Hueso Quevrado, representing Achugar’s process from research to draft to revision.

“Hueso Quevrado (Cuaderno de la Bahia),” Drafts, 2004-2006 (folder 2)

For more information on this collection, please view the online finding aid.

Recent Acquisition: Jansenist controversy in 18th century France

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a rare and interesting two-volume work, Louis Basile Carre de Montgeron’s La verite des miracles operes a l’intercession de M. de Paris et autres appellans (1737-1741), which provides a view of the continuing Jansenist controversy in the 18th-century French church. Montgeron, a magistrate of the Parlement of Paris, experienced a miraculous conversion at the tomb of Francois of Paris, an ascetic Jansenist deacon, and thus became a champion of the Jansenist cause; in this work he defends the miracles which were claimed to have occurred near the tomb in the parish cemetery at Saint-Medard and the “Convulsionnaires”, pilgrims who experienced convulsions while visiting the site.

Although Jansenism, with its emphases on grace, predestination, miracles and what seemed to critics as denial of human free will, had been condemned by Pope Clement XI in the papal bull Unigenitus in 1713, this account by Montgeron shows its continuing influence through the first half of the century.

Recent Acquisition: The Hildegard Sekler Collection

By Jennifer Brcka, Processing Archivist for Special Collections

In the immediate wake of the Anschluss, or German annexation of Austria on March 12, 1938, the German Reich initiated a campaign against that nation’s Jewish citizens. The Seklers, a Viennese family, were victims of these actions, and later, of the Holocaust. The Hildegard Sekler Collection, a recent archival acquisition by Hesburgh Libraries’ Rare Books and Special Collections, records the family’s story through a series of letters and documents.

The collection consists of over 400 pieces of correspondence generated surrounding the separation of Leopold and Toni Sekler from their daughter, Hildegard. Most relate to Hildegard’s flight from Austria at the age of sixteen, and chiefly date from the years between 1939 and 1945. The bulk are personal letters and postcards sent to Hildegard by family, friends, and her tutor. A body of official correspondence with governmental and aid agencies has been preserved here, as well. More than 100 documents and personal papers are also found within the collection. These range from official records relating to Leopold’s career in the Vienna Finance Ministry to, less formally, Hildegard’s homework assignments, school notes, and essays.

Name change slips for Leopold and Toni Sekler and the latter’s passport, as displayed in the January 2019 spotlight exhibit about Theresienstadt (Terezín).

This group of personal documents includes Leopold and Toni Sekler’s passports. In August of 1938, the German authorities enacted the Executive Order on the Law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names. This order required Jews with non-Jewish first names to formally add “Israel” for males and “Sara” for females to their legal names. The Seklers were forced to comply. Three slips noting the name changes for each remain inserted in Leopold Sekler’s Passport. Following a similar pronouncement aimed at identifying Jewish citizens, Toni Sekler’s passport was stamped with a red “J”.

Letters illuminate desperation the family felt in the months that followed. Leopold Sekler appealed to Switzerland and the United States to obtain visas for the family to emigrate. His requests were met with delays and little success. Undeterred, he sought out directories and wrote to a handful of New Yorkers, strangers with the Sekler name, whom he hoped might provide support for a visa application. Replies from a Constance Sekler express frustration over past experiences with the Consulate in Vienna, as well as with her own limited resources. Empathetic, though unable to assist, she wrote, “Whether or not we are related isn’t of great importance because I am just as much interested in your welfare in any event.” A Jack Sekler, living in the Bronx, was able to offer support, though a quota system placed the Sekler family on a waiting list, and ultimately prevented their seeking asylum in America.

In January of 1939, a letter from the Welfare Headquarters of the Jewish Cultural Society advised that it had secured passage to England for Hildegard. At age 16, she quickly fled, unaccompanied, to London where she lived in a youth hostel. A wave of letters from her parents and concerned family and friends soon followed. Many capture the bleakness of the situation for those who remained in Austria.  A March 14, 1939 letter sent by Trude Mesuse states (in German), “Furthermore, your father wants you to know, if he writes “ich” like this at the end or the beginning of a sentence, you ought to pay attention to this sentence and think about it, because it will have a particular meaning he can’t express clearly writing from Vienna. And you should be careful when you write, too.”

Many letters express the love and concern of parents separated from their only child. In a letter (in English) from her father on June 1, of 1940, he asks his “Dear Hilde” to, “[…] stay in the garden as long as possible and to sleep by open windows. You had better to speak only English, at home too. It would be better for all big girls. The German language you will not forget, I am sure. The conversation is the most important and the best mean to learn a language, believe me, I know it by experience.” By 1941, sending correspondence to countries at war with Germany was prohibited, and Leopold used the Red Cross Message Service to send his daughter greetings on her nineteenth birthday.

Further correspondence within the collection convey the uncertainties of life in London during the Blitz. Hildegard studied in London with a tutor, Dr. Judah Simon Goller, who wrote her frequently. In an undated letter he mentions two children, mutual acquaintances and also displaced minors, who had recently left London to be reunited with family. He muses, “So the twins have gone, and we are short two more. Please God, [may] they reach their parents in safety and soon forget all their sorrows, and remember sometimes the little joys they shared with us. I wonder what’s the good of telling me not to worry about the children when there’s a raid on? I just can’t help it.”

Hildegard continued, unsuccessfully, to seek a means for her parents to flee Austria. In October of 1942, Leopold and Toni Sekler were deported to Theresienstadt, a transit and labor camp. From there, the couple were transported to Auschwitz on October 12, 1944. Neither survived. Hildegard married her tutor, Dr. Goller, in 1960. She remained in London until her death in 2008.

Through materials largely in German or English (and occasionally in French), the Hildegard Sekler Collection presents a unique view of the Anschluss and its aftermath, unaccompanied child refugees of the Holocaust, wartime experiences in London, and personal histories of prisoners of Theresienstadt. The collection (MSE/MD 6408) is open for research in Rare Books and Special Collections, and a detailed finding aid can be found online.

Recent Acquisition: Dandini’s Missione apostolica

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired an important and rare first edition of Girolamo Dandini’s Missione apostolica al patriarca, e Maroniti del Monte Libano (Cesena, 1656). In 1596, Dandini (1554-1634), a Jesuit, was sent as Apostolic Nuncio by Pope Clement VIII to discuss doctrinal issues with the Maronite Christians of Lebanon, whose traditions differed from those of the Latin church.

Dandini’s travel account also includes observations of numerous places and peoples, including Cyprus, Crete, and the Ottomans. His account is significant for its record of Muslim-Christian relations at the time. The work became very popular and was translated from Italian into several other languages.

Hesburgh Libraries hold microform and electronic editions of the English version, A voyage to Mount Libanus. Only two other North American libraries hold physical copies of this edition.

Recent Acquisition: The life and martyrdom of the first Mexican saint and patron of Mexico City

by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

Rare Books and Special Collections has acquired a first edition of Vida, martyrio, y beatificacion del invicto proto-martyr del Japon San Felipe de Jesus, patron de Mexico, by Baltasar de Medina. The work treats the life and martyrdom of San Felipe de Jesus, the first Mexican saint and patron of Mexico City.

Medina, a member of the Order of the Brothers of St. James of Mexico City, details Felipe’s birth, his initial affiliation with the discalced Franciscans in Puebla, his missionary work in Manila, the omens preceding his martyrdom, the martyrdom itself, and his beatification.

Felipe found himself in Japan when a storm pushed his ship, destined for Mexico, off course. He and companion friars and a number of Japanese Christians were taken prisoner on orders of Japanese regent, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After weeks in prison, these men were crucified as an example to others who might consider conversion.

Medina includes an image of the type of cross used in the crucifixions in his work. It was comprised of a crossbeam on top, one on the bottom, and a smaller piece of wood that the victims sat astride, as if riding a horse, in Medina’s words. A metal hoop encircled the neck and, in Felipe’s case, nearly choked him to death as his feet failed to reach the lower support. Executioners ran lances through the bodies of the Christians as they were suspended from the cross.

The title page is printed in red and black ink, but the highlight of this work is the engraved plate depicting San Felipe as he was crucified. The drawing depicts the martyr on a cross, pierced by lances, and with the ring of metal encircling his neck. Interestingly, the group of symbols representing the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and later Mexico City—an eagle with a snake in its beak atop a nopal cactus—appears in front of the cross. An almost whimsical rendering of Mexico City including a cathedral, a bridge, and small human figures, decorates the bottom of the image.

This is the only copy of this work in the United States and one of the few copies anywhere containing the engraved plate.


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Recent Acquisition: Letters of a Capuchin Preacher

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a unique set of over eighty bound, handwritten letters, Traicte pour les tres devotes & tres vertueuses dames, les dames religieuses du Calvaire (MSE/EM 2833), from Francois Leclerc du Tremblay, also known as Pere Joseph, to the nuns of Calvaire between 1614 and 1638. Pere Joseph began his career as a soldier, serving at the Siege of Amiens in 1597, but in 1599 he renounced the world and entered the Capuchin priory of Orleans. He became a notable preacher and in 1606 helped Antoinette d’Orleans, a nun of Fontevrault, found the order of the Filles du Calvaire—the community to whom these letters are addressed.

Pere Joseph (1577-1638) is also known as a confidant of Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), and was the original “eminence grise” (“grey eminence”), the French term for a powerful advisor who operates “behind the scenes.”