German

The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

German
Faust, ein Fragment (1790), Deutsches Textarchiv

Based on a legend transmitted through the popular literature and drama of German-speaking Europe from the late 16th century onward (and found an English-speaking audience through translation of the texts and Christopher Marlowe’s dramatic adaptation), Goethe’s own version of Faust lives at the heart of the German literary canon. The play’s “pact with the Devil” narrative tells the story of Dr. Faust, who, seeking deeper knowledge than the academy can provide, strikes a bargain with Mephistopheles which requires him to serve Faust and to show him all of the truths in the world. However, should Faust ever become complacent, his life would be forfeit. A series of fantastic, and tragic, events follows, and in the end Faust finds that his life is at risk. 

Goethe calls upon a variety of meters to tell his tale, which combines elements of contemporary European society with classical themes. He worked on the play intermittently over the course of nearly 50 years beginning in the 1770s (from which a copied manuscript survives), and after releasing his early efforts as Faust, ein Fragment in 1790, decided that the full play should be published as two parts: Part I, published in 1808, and Part II, published posthumously in 1832.  Goethe’s Faust would become highly influential, inspiring music, theater, opera, film, and literature (including Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita) from the 19th century to the present. UC Berkeley Library owns numerous editions of the text, including the initial 1790 publication which was included in a multi-volume set of Goethe’s collected works and is housed in The Bancroft Library. A new project funded by the German Research Foundation called Faustedition has made Faust even more accessible by putting the full text online, and allowing line-by-line reading of variations across editions. Importantly, the project also includes an online archive of Goethe’s handwritten papers and letters, transcribed and searchable, which are related to the development of Faust.

The German language and its literature have been a fixture at Berkeley since the university’s founding. Today, the German Department offers courses at all levels and encompassing the breadth of the Middle Ages to the 21st century. In addition to Modern German, earlier forms of the language including Old Saxon, Old High German, Middle High German, and Early New High German are all taught. Goethe’s writings continue to be studied and read extensively. 

Contribution by Jeremy Ott
Classics and Germanic Studies Librarian, Doe Library

Title: Faust
Title in English: Faust
Author: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1749-1832.
Imprint: Leipzig: Christian Friedrich Solbrig, 1790.
Edition: 1st [?]
Language: German
Language Family: Indo-European, Germanic
Source: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) | German  Research Foundation
URL: http://faustedition.net

Other online editions:

Print editions at Berkeley:

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Icelandic

The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Icelandic literature after the Reformation was primarily the domain of poetry until the mid-19th century. Following a small number of unpublished collections of short stories and folk tales and several published prose translations into Icelandic in the 18th century, currents of European influence encouraged the sustained development of literary prose, at first short stories, which in some cases also drew upon local saga and folkloric traditions. Credit for the first Icelandic novel is generally given to Jón Thóroddsen (1818-1868) for his 1850 work Piltur og Stúlka (Lad and Lass). As scholar and statesman Jón Sigurðsson would write in his introduction to a posthumous edition (1876) of Thóroddsen’s second, unfinished novel Maður og Kona (Man and Woman), “Various attempts have been made in our country before this to compose works of fiction similar to those which had appeared in foreign lands in modern times, which are called in English ‘novels,’ because they draw their material from modern everyday life, and not from ancient events or historical writings, as do the knightly romances; but this story of Thóroddsen’s [Piltur og Stúlka] is the most important of all these tales, and is hence universally conceded to be the first Icelandic novel [translation from Reeves’ 1890 edition of Lad and Lass].”

Born in western Iceland, Thóroddsen traveled to Copenhagen to study law, where he also pursued literary interests as co-creator and editor of a liberal arts annual to which he contributed his own poetry and several short texts (in addition to briefly joining the Danish army in its fight against rebellious Germans). During the winter of 1848-9 he wrote Piltur og Stúlka, which was published in Copenhagen in 1850 (a second edition was published in Reykjavik in 1867). Although indebted to the English romantic love story, this tale of the complicated love between Indriði and Sigríður, which begins and ends in the countryside and includes a journey to Reykjavik at its middle, is highly localized in its descriptions of contemporary Icelandic society. Thóroddsen was a keen observer of character, and his readers were especially drawn to the comic traits with which he endowed some of them.  Other aspects of description as well as narrative reveal the influence of the Icelandic sagas. In 1850 Thóroddsen returned to Iceland, where he worked as a bailiff, and nearly completed his second novel before his death in 1868. Piltur og Stúlka has been published in a number of subsequent editions, translated into four languages, and was adapted for the stage in Iceland in 1933. The UC Berkeley Library owns the 1973 reprint of the 1948 edition, which was published in Reykjavik.

The Modern Icelandic language has been taught at the introductory level in UC Berkeley’s Scandinavian Department since 2015, when a pilot program was launched with the assistance of the Institute of European Studies.

Contribution by Jeremy Ott
Classics and Germanic Studies Librarian, Doe Library

 

Title: Piltur og Stúlka : Dálítil Frásaga
Title in English: Lad and Lass
Author: Jón Thóroddsen, 1818-1868.
Imprint: Kaupmannahöfn : S.L. Möller, 1850.
Edition: 1st
Language: Icelandic
Language Family: Indo-European, Germanic
Source: The Internet Archive (National and University Library of Iceland)
URL: https://archive.org/details/Pilturogstulkada000209560v0JonReyk/page/n6

Other online editions:

Print editions at Berkeley:

Piltur og stúlka: dálítil frásaga. Reykjavík: Helgafell, 1973. Reprint of the 1948 edition.

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Danish

The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Danish
Title page of second edition published in 1849.

Although he had previously written a handful of articles, a book length review of a Hans Christian Andersen novel, and a magister dissertation on irony, the Danish philosopher, theologian and litterateur Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) considered Enten – Eller (Either/Or) to be the first work of his authorship proper. Under the pseudonym Victor Eremita, Kierkegaard published the two-volume novel with C. A. Reitzel in 1843. Kierkegaard published under pseudonyms so that the reader would not turn to him as an authority on how to interpret and live out the works. Henriette Wulff wrote from Copenhagen to H. C. Andersen in Germany, “Recently a book was published here with the title Either/Or! It is supposed to be quite strange, the first part full of Don Juanism, skepticism, et cetera, and the second part toned down and conciliating, ending with a sermon that is said to be quite excellent. The whole book has attracted much attention.”[1] By the standards of the small Danish book market, it sold well, and went into a second edition in 1849. The second edition is of especial interest because archival evidence indicates that Kierkegaard gave a gift copy of it to H. C. Andersen. This gesture can be seen as a rapprochement, since Kierkegaard’s 1838 review of Andersen’s Kun en Spillemand (Only a Fiddler) was quite scathing. Previously, Andersen had tried to show that there were no hard feelings by gifting Kierkegaard a copy of his Nye Eventyr (New fairytales), but Kierkegaard made no reply.  Unfortunately, Andersen’s copy of the second edition of Enten – Eller is believed to be no longer extant. (In 2001, Niels Lillelund published a Nordic Noir novel entitled Den amerikanske samler [The American collector], which follows a bookstore owner’s pursuit of this priceless item.)

Enten – Eller has been translated into English, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese, as well as into a number of other languages. In addition to having online access to the second edition, the UC Berkeley Library has a hardcopy of the fourth edition in its holdings.

Danish is spoken by roughly six million people around the world. The Department of Scandinavian at UC Berkeley regularly offers courses in both the Danish language and in Danish literature in translation. The Danish language is taught by Senior Lecturer Karen Møller, and Danish literature is taught by Professor Karin Sanders. In the fall of 2018, Scandinavian 180, “The Works, Context, and Legacy of Søren Kierkegaard” introduced a group of students to Kierkegaard, the Danish Golden Age, and the author’s influence on twentieth-century philosophy and world literature. The course was taught by the author of this essay.

Contribution by Troy Smith
PhD Student, Department of Scandinavian

Sources consulted:

  1. Quoted in Joakim Garff, Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography, trans. Bruce H. Kirmmse (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 216–17.

~~~~~~~~~~
Title:
Enten – Eller
Title in English: Either/Or
Author: Victor Eremita, pseudonym for Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855)
Imprint: Kjøbenhavn, C.A. Reitzel, 1849.
Edition: 2nd edition
Language: Danish
Language Family: Indo-European, Germanic
Source: HathiTrust Digital Library (University of Minnesota)
URL: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/umn.31951d02153608j

Print editions at Berkeley: Enten – eller. Et livs-fragment, udg. af Victor Eremita [pseud.]. 4. udg. Kjøbenhavn, C. A. Reitzel, 1878.

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The Languages of Berkeley is a dynamic online sequential exhibition celebrating the diversity of languages that have advanced research, teaching and learning at the University of California, Berkeley. It is made possible with support from the UC Berkeley Library and is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Language Center (BLC).

Follow The Languages of Berkeley!
Subscribe by email
Contact/Feedback
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