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01/17/2018 | Pressemitteilung

The Grimms and 450 others: Comprehensive encyclopedia on the literary history of Kassel published

For the first time in almost 150 years, a reference work offers a comprehensive lexical overview of the literary history of the city of Kassel. The "Little Kassel Literature Lexicon," edited by Kassel Germanist Prof. Dr. Nikola Roßbach, includes more than 450 entries on well-known writers since the 14th century as well as forgotten authors. The work thus paints a picture of the cultural wealth of the former residential and now modern metropolis. It is currently published by Wehrhahn-Verlag.

The spectrum ranges from early modern compilation literature and Baroque light sermons to Enlightenment Robinsonades, Classicist poetry, and Romantic gothic novels to modern women's novels, pop and crime literature, intercultural and travel essayism. For all 450 authors there is not only biographical information, but also detailed text examples.

Famous authors such as the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm can be found here, as well as their fairy tale carrier Dorothea Viehmann as a representative of an oral tradition, the religious philosopher Franz Rosenzweig or numerous contemporary authors. Italian-language poems by Elisabeth von Hessen-Kassel (1596 - 1625) were translated into German for the first time for this encyclopedia. The authors' relationship to Kassel is manifold: Kassel is the place of birth or death, the place of work, the permanent or temporary residence of the literary figures listed.

Even if the book title remains modest: In scope, type and temporal dimension, the Little Kassel Literature Encyclopedia stands out among regional reference works. "To my knowledge, there is nothing comparable in the German-speaking world; the encyclopedia can perhaps be seen as a pioneering achievement," emphasizes Nikola Roßbach: "The combination of article plus quotation, one page each, makes the work a kind of hermaphrodite of encyclopedia and anthology." Around 100 experts on regional cultural history contributed to the encyclopedia. The book comprises over 900 pages.

Prof. Dr. Nikola Roßbach has held a professorship in modern German literary studies at the University of Kassel since 2011. Most recently, she supported the iconic documenta artwork "Parthenon of Books" by Argentine Marta Minujín by compiling the world's largest list of censored books. Among her other research interests, Nikola Roßbach is intensively involved with the literary history of Kassel. Two years ago, for example, she initiated a literature trail in the North Hessian city. A series of readings on the "Little Kassel Literature Lexicon" is planned for the coming summer.

Kleines Kasseler Literatur-Lexikon. Authors. Ed. by Nikola Roßbach. Hanover: Wehrhahn Verlag 2018. 39.90 euros. ISBN 978-3-86525-586-0.


A photo of Prof. Roßbach on request from the press office of the University of Kassel: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de



Prof. Dr. Nikola Roßbach
University of Kassel
Institute for German Studies
Tel.: +49 561 804-3329
E-mail: n.rossbach[at]uni-kassel[dot]de


Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Communication, Press and Public Relations
Tel.: +49 561 804-1961
E-Mail: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de