German Research Foundation sponsors completion of the critical edition of the works of Friedrich Schlegel

Academics at Mainz University will make available the last eight of 35 volumes of Schlegel’s writings over the coming years


Academics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have been granted financial support by the German Research Foundation (DFG) to finish the complete critical edition of the works of Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829). Schlegel is one of the most important writers of German Romanticism. It is not only in Germany that his works are considered important; his writings are studied with great interest around the world. Under the supervision of Professor Dr. Ulrich Breuer of JGU's German Department as editorial head, the outstanding volumes required to complete the German-language Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe [Critical Edition of the Works of Friedrich Schlegel] will appear over the next six years.

Schlegel's extensive writings are frequently only available in excerpts. In 1958, Ernst Behler began work on the German-language Critical Edition of the Works of Friedrich Schlegel, successively issuing books in the projected series of 35 large-format volumes ordered in four divisions. When Behler suddenly died in 1997, eight of the projected 35 volumes had still to be prepared. These are mainly from the third division, which covers the correspondence between Friedrich and Dorothea Schlegel. In 2007, the publishing house of the edition, Schöningh-Verlag, commissioned Professor Dr. Ulrich Breuer of JGU's German Department to edit the remaining volumes. The German Research Foundation will now be providing funding to the tune of €380,000 over the next 36 months to promote timely completion of the edition. There is also the prospect that funding will then be extended for a further 36 months.

Leading editors in Germany and abroad have been retained to work on the missing volumes. The critical approach is to base the texts on the original manuscripts in order to ensure the greatest degree of authenticity. In addition to the print edition, a Friedrich Schlegel portal repository, text/commentary, facsimiles) will gradually be provided for free online use. During the ongoing project, texts and commentaries are to be released in readily-accessible XML printer format. The main objective behind this edition is to throw a new light on Schlegel's writings and show that, outside the realm of German Romantic literature criticism, he was also a media-experienced intellectual working within the European literary and cultural movements of his time. Thus, Professor Breuer’s work has close affinities with the work of the Historical and Cultural Studies Research Unit at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Professor Dr. Ulrich Breuer is not only the editorial head of the Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe, but also is the President of the Friedrich Schlegel Society founded in Mainz in 2007. On behalf of the Schlegel Society, he and his colleague Professor Dr. Nikolaus Wegmann of Princeton University in the USA have been responsible since 2008 for the publication of the Athenaeum yearbook, one of the central organs of international research on the Romantic Movement. With the support of the German Research Foundation, Athenaeum has been transformed into a peer-reviewed journal and is now publicly accessible.