This week Simon Mick (Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat, Freiburg) was in the reading room consulting the Friedrich Gundolf archive which belongs to the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies (IGRS), part of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Gundolf was a literary scholar and a poet. He rejected an ahistorical approach to the study of literature and his new way of thinking sought to ground great writers such as Goethe and Shakespeare firmly in their own time and culture. He was interested not just in the texts themselves but also the wider effects that those texts had.
I asked Simon which parts of the archive interested him in particular and how they were relevant to his wider research. “My search in the archives is mainly a quest to find unpublished poems by Gundolf concerning the death of another member of the George circle (1) – Maximilian Kronberger. In two of the archive files I found 3 definitely unpublished poems and possibly some others. I also found an early draft of a poem published later. After looking at the files concerning Gundolf’s poems I consulted correspondence between several members of the George circle again looking for material relating to the death(s) of any of the circle. I am carrying out research for my PhD concerning the ‘Poetic Sepulchral Culture of the George Circle’; I am trying to locate every piece of poetic or literary evidence concerning the deaths and/or mourning of members of the circle. My focus is on the form of the poems regarding mourning alongside associated sociological issues.”
(1) Stefan George was at the centre of the ‘George Kreis’ an influential grouping of academics and young writers. He also published the journal Blätter für die Kunst.