There is one in almost every European society, a so-called “national author”. Yet how do national authors develop and how greatly does their work influence the discourse on cultural identity in their respective societies? Why do we assume that national authors are entitled to represent the collective? And under what conditions can we equate his/her person as a guarantor of cultural identity despite diverse epochal upheavals and processes of social transformation? As a rule, there are complex processes of canonisation which determine who ultimately is raised to the rank of a national author. In turn, such processes of canonisation are closely interwoven with cultural-policy goals and media presentations of every kind. Whether it is Racine, Voltaire or Hugo in France, Shakespeare or Byron in Great Britain, Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky in Russia, Goethe or Schiller in Germany, despite their differences, they all have one aspect in common: their works supposedly represent the genuine and inimitable character of their own nation. Such identification with an author, work and national culture can only function when the respective oeuvre is reduced to a few, at best pithy, and thus generally stereotypical characteristics. In the early 20th century, this process of reduction resulted in a remarkably effective attempt to define the “Faustian” character in Goethe’s Faust and claim it as a national character trait of the Germans.
Even as posterity raises important authors to the rank of national authors through cultural- and historical-politically motivated processes of canonisation, we frequently find – especially in the context of classical modernity – that literary figures bestow the authority of a national author to themselves and justify it by associating themselves with writers who have already been canonised as national authors. This was particularly evident with Thomas Mann who wrote the Goethe novel Lotte in Weimar while exiled in the United States during World War II, where he confidently declared: “Wherever I am, so is Germany.”
Applications must be submitted online via the application portal by 29 February 2016. You can find the respective link at the end of this site
Applications received via letter post or e-mail will not be considered.
All participants will be notified by the end of April 2016. International participants will receive an invitation which they can present when applying for an entry visa.
There is no legal entitlement to participation.
Accommodation / Travel expenses
All participants receive free accommodation for the duration of their stay in Weimar.
Travel expenses are reimbursed in accordance to the flat-rate allowances of the DAAD.
Each participant will be charged a participation fee of 300 euros. In exceptional, substantiated cases, participants may petition to have the fee waived.
Programme / Lecturers
Specific details about the programme and the participating lecturers will be available shortly on this site.
Coordinator for the MWW Research Association / Klassik Stiftung Weimar