The DLA holds 47 publishers’ archives and 23 journal archives that provide information on how literature is made, which actors are involved in its production, and what processes are required for this purpose. Sociological approaches to literature research, which are prominent in French-language scholarship through the work of Pierre Bourdieu and in American scholarship through the discipline of cultural sociology, are underdeveloped in Germany. Yet, when engaging with publishers’ and journal archives, these approaches are particularly useful for describing the emergence of literature.
The workshop series ‘Global Literary History’ (ongoing since 2021) examines the business of publishing and asks how, for example, the connections of publishers to the book trade, decisions about licensing and licensing policy, controlling and similar processes shed light on the development of global literary history(/ies). The fourth workshop in the series - ‘Licensing and Monetising. Publishing Archives and the Legal Regimes of Literature’, in conjunction with Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf - is devoted to hitherto under-researched sources for the legal regulation of modern literature.
A further aspect of this research area is represented by the exhibition ‘Will’s Book - 400 Years of Shakespeare’s First Folio’. It opened in autumn 2022 in cooperation with Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and was accompanied by the international conference ‘Shakespeare’s First Folio. An International Legacy’ (in cooperation with Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen). It celebrates the announcement of the first printed edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays in the Frankfurt Book Fair catalogue of 1622 and examines their impact in the German-speaking world. The exhibition is open to visitors until 21 May 2023.
In addition, the DLA and the interdisciplinary network #breiterkanon, in conjunction with the University of Frankfurt, will conduct an exploratory workshop on canon formation and the role of the archive - primarily but not exclusively - in the representation of women authors since the 18th century (‘Archive and Canon’, 10-12 May 2023). Questions concerning the canonisation of literature are also a key focus of the new subdepartment in the DLA, which examines and collects international examples of types, forms, methods, and technologies of and for ›Literature in Public Space‹ and seeks to document and research these. The subdepartment has a special focus on the ›auratisation‹ of literature - what is ›aura‹ in relation to literature? How is it created and what function can it have? How does it become tangible in an archive?
In 2023, a new line with a focus on theatre will be developed for this research area. The DLA holds the archives of several theatre publishers, which represent an invaluable, yet untapped source for the history of theatre in the German-speaking world in the 20th century. The DLA is currently in planning discussions for future research and indexing projects with partners in the university and cultural sectors. An exploratory workshop based on the DLA’s holdings is in planning for October 2023.