Donnerstag, 22. Juni 2017, 18.15 Uhr
Donnerstag, 22. Juni 2017, 18.15 Uhr // Gabriella Szalay
Manuscripts, minerals, mummies: Rudolph Erich Raspe (1736 - 1794) and the search for historical origins
Remembered today, if at all, as the author of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Münchhausen, Rudolf Erich Raspe was one of the most promising minds of his generation. A skilled philologist, a committed naturalist and an astute connoisseur, he exemplified the traits of the Universalgelehrte. But then he risked and lost almost everything, when tired of the life of toil and poverty that characterized the conditions of so many men of learning in his day, he sold off parts of the coin collection of his employer, Friedrich II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. In this talk, I will discuss Raspe?s rise and fall among the learned communities of Europe, beginning with his days as a student in Göttingen, continuing with his employment as a young clerk in the Royal Library of Hannover and Keeper of Antiquities in Kassel and ending with his exile in England, where he tried to win the favor of famous collectors like Dr. William Hunter in London. As I will argue, the thread that bound together the many different roles that Raspe inhabited was his interest in history, particularly his interest in historical origins, whether those origins concerned that of natural phenomena like mountain ranges or that of human inventions like oil painting.
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