Varnhagen Gesellschaft Info - a website dedicated to Rahel Levin and Karl August Varnhagen von Ense
The Varnhagen Gesellschaft e. V. is an amalgamation of individuals, initiatives and institutions who feel indebted to the life and works of Rahel and Karl August Varnhagen, Ludmilla Assing and the remaining writers of the Varnhagen Collection. Ludmilla Assing had bequested this marvellous collection with autographs, manuscripts, letters to and from 9000 persons, books, portraits, newspaper clippings and other items to the Koenigliche Bibliothek Berlin; today, the printed matters still remain in Berlin, whereas the autograph collection was transported to Silesia in World War II and is now situated in the Jagiellonian Library in Cracovia, Poland. Both libraries are members of the Varnhagen Society, as well as the Centro Studi Rahel Levin in Torino, Italia, where microfilmed letters of Rahel are collected to prepare the edition Rahel Levin Varnhagen. The international Varnhagen Gesellschaft e. V. with 150 members up to now organized two congresses ("Rahel Varnhagen und ihre Schwestern", Iserlohn, Oct. 1997; "Ludmilla Assing in Florenz 1861/62-1880", Florence, Villa Romana, april 21-21nd, 2000) and published two Almanacs (No. 1, Wenn die Geschichte um eine Ecke geht, 2000; 320 p.; No. 2, Makkaroni und Geistesspeise, 2002, 424 p., both Berlin: Berlin Verlag Arno Spitz GmbH). Twice a year we publish our newsletter "gazzettino" (paper and free e-mail-edition) with announcements, information about new literature and society's news and events; exclusive for members are the Jahresgabe (facsimiled letters) and the catalogue of the Varnhagen Collection by Ludwig Stern (Berlin 1911, 1000 p.). Our membership fees are 24 Euro p. a.; 12 Euro for students. On our website you'll find actual news and information, a conference ticker, a broad link collection concerning the Varnhagen's and Assing's and their cercle of friends; the newsletter archive, a biographical chronique of the Varnhagen-Assing family and a choice of texts from and about Rahel Varnhagen and the society of Berlin 1800-1900. Concerning our recently published Almanach 2, "Makkaroni und Geistesspeise", the following information may be of interest: When Heinrich Heine was in a bored mood during his stay in Luneburg 1823, he remembered "maccaroni and spiritual treats" he had enjoyed in the Berlin Salon of Rahel Levin and Karl August Varnhagen. Heine's recent biographer Christian Liedtke resumes this productive literary trias in this publication. With MAKKARONI UND GEISTESSPEISE, the Varnhagen Society board has published the second Almanach. Like our first book WENN DIE GESCHICHTE UM EINE ECKE GEHT (Berlin 2000), this Almanach is under the patronage of two gifted artists: Thomas Kohl, a student of Gerhard Richter, and Ursula Groten, who has illustrated some of the poems. Opening with bilingual Italian-German poetry and an essay by Harald Steinhagen about the artless art of the anecdote, we offer a great number of source publications: the correspondence of Karl August Varnhagen with the Bremen composer Elise Müller 1833 to 1850, reports in French language by the Polish diplomat Karol Forster (edited by Roman Jaskula), the construction of a diving machine named "Triton" by baron von Drieberg and letters by German immigrants in the U.S. In our scientific section, Ursula Isselstein studies Varnhagen's and Karl Gustav von Brinckmann's "Rahel", Birgit Christensen presents the philosophy of Julie Bondeli. Marjanne Goozé takes a look at the portraits of Henriette Herz and Dieter Kuhn discovers where Fontane had made use of the writings of historian Eduard Vehse. Detlef Gaus gives a sociological study of Geselligkeitstheorien by Schleiermacher and Axel Honneth, Bismarcks judgement about Varnhagen's diary is quoted from hithertho unknown sources by Claudia Breuer; and Elke Wenzel shows Franz Kafka as a wordly and amused Italian tourist. An important contribution to our German-Italian topic are the papers from our Conference about Ludmilla Assing, that was held in April 2000 in Villa Romana, Florence. Nikolaus Gatter follows the traces that Varnhagen's niece had left in her Italian exile; Mariapia Casalena read her revolutionary biographies. An account of the Risorgimento festivities and the salons that Assing and Ferenc Pulszky held in Florence gives Christina Ujma. The approach to the history of art in Ludmilla Assings journal articles ist resumed by Kornelia Löhrer; Silvia Chiocci shows how her reviews helped Giovanni Verga to his first steps to international fame. Michael Jones reminds the Shakespearean play-reading soirées that were held in Ottilie and Ludmilla Assing's home in Hamburg. Lorely French publishes two letters that Amalie Schoppe, an old acquaintance of the Assing family, wrote from North America, where Ottilie Assing had followed her. Britta Behmer reflects why Ottilie Assing, unlike Ludmilla, preferred all her life to publish her political articles anonymously. In our discussion forum following the reviews, four medical women discuss a question raised by Ludmilla Assing in her essay "La posizione sociale della donna": the so-called "fredda energia", that characterize a chirurgist's job.
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