Enlightenment and Other Influences in an 18th Century German Serial

by Julia A. Schneider, Ph.D, German Language & Literature Subject Liaison

“Most journalists have the intractable purpose of reshaping the times according to their system, not reshaping their system according to the times.” 1

This two-line manifesto by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (March 24, 1739-October 10,1791), the publisher of the Vaterländische Chronik (also known as the Deutsche Chronik and Teutsche Chronik in its earliest incarnation), shows how his approach to both journalism and “the times” of the late eighteenth century may have differed from that of other, contemporary publishers. Contents of the Chronik, from the beginning, were not limited to simply reporting in dispatches, narrative descriptions, or just-the-facts observations, but included opinions, commentary, poetry, and other types of prose. Published from 1774-1778 and again from 1787-1791, the Chronik had a circulation of about 4000 per issue at its height.2

Schubart had been a schoolmaster, was considered a keyboard virtuoso, and had influence on Enlightenment poets like Goethe and Schiller. He considered himself a patriot, and provided incisive commentary on the way that rulers wielded their power, as well as the way that some authority figures used superstition to maintain or increase their own positions. As a patriot himself and a believer in a freer society, he also took a great interest in the conflict in the colonies that became the American Revolution.3 He was imprisoned in 1777 in the fortress of Hohenasperg on the orders of the Duke of Wurttemberg, in part due to Schubart’s printing of the rumor (as “legend”) that the duke was lending 3000 troops to England to fight the revolutionaries in North America; Schubart had already reported the selling of troops by other nobles to the British. He remained imprisoned, initially under deplorable conditions—without a trial—for more than ten years. Although he continued to write poetry from prison, even while subject to a re-education program under the tutelage of a pietist and archenemy (“Intimfeind” in German) whom Schubart had frequently criticized in print.4

Notre Dame’s copy (Rare Books Small DD 193 .S35 1787/1788), was published under the title used after his imprisonment, Vaterländische Chronik. It covers the last half of 1787, including the July and December quarterly issues. Perusing this later segment of the Chronik allows the reader entry into Schubart’s perspective and publishing program after his imprisonment. By choosing several pieces, we can see examples of the way his views did and did not alter during this time of extreme stress and so-called “re-education.”

In the piece at the beginning of the July issue (erstes Stück) “In mein Vaterland” shows, where Schubart draws a comparison between the pillars of flame and cloud that led the Israelites from their imprisonment to their homeland and his own experience of prison and release into the type of freedom among his fellow citizens that awaited him in his own homeland. Unlike mere metaphorical, poetically emotional understanding of restraint presented in the work of Romantics, Schubart provides experience of the outside world that only someone who had experienced imprisonment could understand.

Schubart later reports the case of the well known robber Hannikel, whose gang was responsible for multiple thefts and murders over the period of decades, resulting in their execution by hanging in July of 1787. Hannikel eventually became a character who appears in the costumed festival Fasching which occurs before the beginning of Lent. Schubart’s report shows that, even before his death, Hannikel may have been thought of in a somewhat positive light, because Schubart’s short piece includes admonishing commentary about the creation of a “legend” about the thief when, in reality, those who leave the path of goodness, preferring to take the road of lies and degradation, are not to be commended, especially when that degradation includes the plunder, injury, and murder of unsuspecting travelers. Following this report is his own poem “Freundschaft,” on the ideal of friendship.

Finally, in the seventh part of the July 1787 issue (Siebentes Stück), we see his thought-piece, “Aufklarung” (“On the Enlightenment”), where he draws on contemporary poetry about the spirit of enlightenment to discuss the principles of enlightened thought. This allowed Schubart to return to the intellectual point of mediation between the Sturm und Drang proponents of the Enlightenment and their severest critics, forging a position which embraced lofty ideals but wished to harness them in educational and political reality, to the benefit of his fellow citizens. This and the foregoing examples from Notre Dame’s volume of the Chronik provide insight into the thought and work of a now lesser-known German poet and journalist, one whose own life was also worthy of observation and report.

 

Footnotes

1. “[D]ie meisten Journalisten haben die hartknäckigen Vorsatz, die Zeiten nach ihrem System und nicht ihr System nach den Zeiten umzubilden.” Christian Friedrich Schubart, ed. Deutsche Chronik, Jahrgange 1774-1777 (4 Bde), Heidelberg, 1975, 1:3, cited in Wolfgang Albrecht, “Aufklärungstrategien in Schubarts Chronik, 1774-1776 (in Potthast, ed., Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart- Das Werk, Heidelberg, 2016, pp.171-94), 172, n. 7.

2. Hartmann, Alexander. “Christian Daniel Friedrich Schubart Jounalist, Musiker, und Dichter der Freiheit,” in Neuen Solidarität, 51 1999 (https://www.schiller-institut.de/jahr2005/essays/schubart.pdf, accessed January 13, 2023), translated by Daniel Platt as “Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart- Journalist, Musician, and Poet of Freedom,” October 2014, https://archive.schillerinstitute.com/educ/hist/2014/hartmann-schubart_bio.html (accessed January 13, 2023).

3. The German public was intensely interested in the goings on in North America, especially due to the involvement of former Prussian army advisor, Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who was in great part responsible for the professionalization and training of the colonial troops at Valley Forge and remained an advisor to George Washington after the war, serving as inspector General of the Military. He was the author of Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States.

4. Hartmann, op. cit.

A 17th Century Reexamination of a 4th Century Saint’s Legend

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Spine and front cover of binding.

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a fascinating and important early modern work on the story of St. Ursula, a fourth-century British princess who tradition relates was martyred along with her 11,000 female followers by the Huns while on a pilgrimage to Rome. Vita et Martyrium S. Ursulae et Sociarum Undecim Millium Virginum etc. (Coloniae Agrippinae, 1647) by the Jesuit Hermann Crombach is an extensive defense of the legend’s historical veracity, as well as a detailed attempt to identify as many of her virgin companions as possible.

There was a resurgence of St. Ursula’s cult in the seventeenth century that witnessed the publication of a number of titles related to her; this tome “provides the most encyclopedic hagiographic coverage of the cult ever published.” ( Cartwright, The cult of St Ursula and the 11,000 virgins, 2016, p.21-22). This renewal of interest in the saint should probably be seen through the lens of the Catholic Reformation, in which detailed investigations into the authenticity of relics, saints’ legends, etc. were held up as proofs of the church’s reliability in transmitting her traditions.

Beginning of text.

Crombach’s exhaustive approach even included an attempt to identify as many of Ursula’s companions as possible and the inclusion of three finely engraved maps attempting to trace the route of the retinue from southwest England to Rome, before they turned north and were martyred in the defense of Cologne—besieged at the time by the Huns.

The first map, added between pages 270 and 271.

We have identified only five North American library holdings of this work.

A Day in a Life of the Warsaw Ghetto in Photographs

by Natasha Lyandres, Head of Special Collections and Curator, Russian and East European Collections

Special Collections recently acquired two World War II era photo albums featuring original photographs from within and outside of the Warsaw Ghetto’s walls.

Although the albums lack dates and inscriptions, they probably belonged to а German soldier who visited Warsaw sometime after the establishment of the Ghetto in November 1940 and before the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April 1943.  At the height of its existence in 1941, the Warsaw Ghetto included more than 500,000 Jews from Warsaw and surrounding towns. They lived in subhuman conditions in a small area segregated from the rest of the city by wire and brick walls. Fueled by years of massive Nazi propaganda, the occupied Warsaw was a popular destination for Wehrmacht soldiers who came here to see for themselves the “authentic” East European Jews and their culture. 

Three men standing in the Warsaw Ghetto. (MSE/REE 0042-1, fol. 4r)

The first album presents a broad spectrum of people and activities taking place inside the Ghetto walls.  It comprises twenty-four photographs probably taken during a single day as the photographer strolled through the streets documenting his encounters with the doomed inhabitants. The images vary from close up portraits of people directly facing the camera to more general depictions of the busy street life, misery, and suffering.

The photographer captured “typical Jewish” men with long beards wearing traditional attire, women with strollers in the park, rickshaws used for transporting people and goods, crowded marketplaces with inhabitants trying to make a living by selling potatoes, warm water, and the obligatory Star of David armbands, uprooted families arriving to the Ghetto from nearby towns, homeless children begging for food, and people collapsing and dying on the sidewalks from hunger and diseases.

The Old town. (MSE/REE 0042-2, fol. 18r)

The second album presents forty-seven photographs depicting mostly street views and buildings on the “Aryan” side of Warsaw, including images of the Ghetto wall (Ulica Graniczna), views of the Old town with its charming narrow streets and alleys, palaces with Nazi flags and German soldiers, and historical monuments, many of which were later destroyed. This album also contains several aerial views of the soon to be destroyed city and bridges over the Vistula river. 

Taken by a perpetrator, these photographs serve as important historical evidence of the Holocaust and Nazi atrocities in Poland.

The albums are currently on display as the September spotlight exhibit in Special Collections. After the exhibit closes, they will be digitized. They will soon be available on the Marble (Museums, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) online platform.

RBSC is closed Monday, September 5th, for Labor Day.

Upcoming Events: August 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC has construction barriers due to ongoing library renovations, but we remain open regular hours.

There are no public events currently scheduled for August. Please check back for events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections during September.


An exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame will open mid-August and run through the fall semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Three Sisterhoods and Two Servants of God (June – August 2022) and Fifties Flair and Seventies Feminism Presented by Two Magazines (May – August 2022). The latter exhibit will be replaced towards the end of August by an exhibit showcasing two recently acquired World War II era photo albums featuring original photographs from the within and outside of the Warsaw Ghetto’s walls.

RBSC will be closed Monday, September 5th,
for Labor Day.

A 17th Century French Missionary in the Middle East

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a rare first edition of an account by a seventeenth-century French Carmelite missionary of his journey through the Middle East and India, Philippe de la Tres Sainte Trinite’s Itinerarium orientale…in quo varii successus Itineris, plures Orientis Regiones, earum Montes, Maria & Flumina, Series Principum, qui in eis dominati sunt, Incolae tam Christiani, quam Infideles Populi (Lugduni, 1649).

Philippe traveled through Syria, Armenia, Persia and India, describing the situation of Christians abroad as well as taking notes on the flora, fauna, and geography of the places he visited. The work contains ten chapters; the eighth and ninth offer descriptions of the various Christian missions to the Middle and Far East, including an account of the martyrdom of two Carmelite missionaries in Sumatra in 1638.

The author (1603-1671) eventually settled in Goa (India), where he taught until he was elected General of the Carmelite Order in 1665.

We have found only three other North American holdings of this edition.  

Spotlight Exhibit: Remembering Early England

The April spotlight exhibit, Remembering Early England, brings together diverse materials that reveal the power of memory. Featuring an eleventh-century coin, a fifteenth-century medieval manuscript, an early printed grammar book, and a Victorian map, this exhibit is a sample of the breadth of the Hesburgh Library’s Special Collections. Each object represents the different ways that each generation has depicted the early English period (ca. 449 – 1066), whether or not their version of history reflected reality.

For 500 years, the area now conceived of as England was inhabited by diverse populations: the Welsh, Picts, Cornish, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Danes, Franks, Icelanders, Irish, and Frisians. In fact, England was not considered a unified country until the tenth century when Aethelstan became the first King of the English. However, later inhabitants of England, particularly those in power, portrayed early England as homogenous, stable, and a romantic pre-figuration of themselves and their ideals.

This exhibit was co-curated by Dr. David T. Gura, Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts, and Anne Elise Crafton, PhD Candidate in the Medieval Institute and Graduate Curatorial Assistant, and can be viewed in 102 Hesburgh Library from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekdays.

Upcoming Events: April and early May

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Tuesday, April 5 at 4:00pm | “Piranesi’s Lost Book” by Heather Minor (Notre Dame).

POSTPONED—NEW DATE WILL BE ANNOUNCED WHEN KNOWN: Thursday, April 7 at 4:30pm | Ravarino Lecture: “Pandemic and Wages in Boccaccio’s Florence” by William Caferro (Vanderbilt).

Rare Books and Special Collections will be open regular hours during Reading Days and Exams (April 27 – May 5). We welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.


The spring exhibit The Word throughout Time: The Bible in the Middle Ages and Beyond is now open and will run through June. This exhibit, curated by David T. Gura (Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts), marks the 75th anniversary of the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Tours are available for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences, by request.

The current spotlight exhibit are 100 Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses (January – April 2022) and Remembering Early England (March-April 2022).

All exhibits are free and open to the public during business hours.

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed April 15 in observance of Good Friday.

We will resume regular hours
(Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm)
on Monday, April 18.

Upcoming Events: March and early April

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, March 24 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “We, the People: Strategies of Representation in the Italian Novel” by Roberto Dainotto (Duke). The Spring lectures are being planned in a hybrid online and in-person format; registration for online access is available via the event description page. Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

DATE & TIME UPDATED – Tuesday, April 5 at 4:00pm | “Piranesi’s Lost Book” by Heather Minor (Notre Dame).

Thursday, April 7 at 4:30pm | Ravarino Lecture: “Pandemic and Wages in Boccaccio’s Florence” by William Caferro (Vanderbilt).


The spring exhibit The Word throughout Time: The Bible in the Middle Ages and Beyond is now open and will run through June. This exhibit, curated by David T. Gura (Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts), marks the 75th anniversary of the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Tours are available for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences, by request.

The current spotlight exhibit are 100 Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses (January – April 2022) and Remembering Early England (March – April 2022, opening soon).

All exhibits are free and open to the public during business hours.

A Seventeenth Century Look at Christians in the Middle East

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a rare early modern title on the Christians of the Middle East, La Turquie cretienne, sous la puissante protection de Louis le Grand, protecteur unique de cristianisme en Orient (Paris, 1695), by “M. de La Croix”, secretary to the French embassy in Constantinople.

The first three parts of the work examine the churches of the Greeks, the Armenians, and the Maronites. The fourth part includes several accounts of various contemporary events, such as the martyrdom of a Greek boy named Nicholas in Constantinople and the story of a French-sponsored seminary and college built for the education of Oriental Christians.

This book provides a fascinating look into the lives of Middle Eastern Christians living under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century. We have identified only five other North American library holdings of this work.

A Welsh Witch in the Woods

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

“There is hardly any Traveller in Wales, who has not heard, at least, of the titles of some of those ancient traditionary tales, which every grandmother, on a cold winter evening, repeats to her grandchildren, sitting round the blazing hearth.”

Thus does the anonymous author or editor of Welsh Legends: a Collection of Popular Oral Tales (London: printed by J.D. Dewick … for J. Badcock, 1802) preface the five pieces found in this book. For this year’s Halloween post, we share with you the full text of the second piece, a poem titled “The Weird Witch of the Wood”.


Happy Halloween to you and yours
from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

Halloween 2016: Ghosts in the Stacks
Halloween 2017: A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider
Halloween 2018: A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”
Halloween 2019: A Halloween trip to Mexico
Halloween 2020: Headless Horsemen in American and Irish Legend