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How to Write a W: On the Magical Beginning of German Writing

Stephan Müller, University of Vienna

November 22, 2021 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 161 East Pyne and Zoom

Program in Medieval Studies
Old High German Lex Silica

The paper aims at proving that common theories about the beginnings of German writing are not always based on the right premises. So far, scholars have assumed that selective and tentative first steps led to more complex forms of translation and poetry in the vernacular. An analysis of the earliest manuscripts in German, however, shows that this assumption does not comply with the great achievements of the first vernacular writers. Rather, it was extraordinary, well-conceived first steps that were taken by courageous intellectuals. The paper is set to demonstrate that a certain kind of ‘magic’ is inherent to the beginnings of vernacular writing, which will disappear again in later texts.

Attendees may choose to attend in-person or via Zoom, registration required for both options:

In person: Register here. This option is limited to Princeton-affiliated faculty and students. Space is limited to the first 20 people to register. RSVP deadline for in-person attendance is Friday, November 19. The lecture will take place in 161 East Pyne.

– All attendees must wear face coverings.
– Ability to social distance may not be possible.
– Princeton ID/Prox cards are required to enter the building.

Via Zoom: Register here. This option is open to the wider medieval community outside of Princeton, as well as Princeton-affiliated faculty and students who prefer to socially distance.

For any questions, please contact Barbara Leavey at blleavey@princeton.edu.

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