Wolfgang Neuber, born in Vienna, Austria, in 1956. Ph.D. from the University of Vienna. Professor of German Philology at Freie Universität Berlin.
Fellow (1 September 2008 – 30 June 2009)
FAMILY BOOKS OF THE RENAISSANCE
Going through about 40 early modern family books has given me an impression of what the genre is about. In order to qualify as a family book a manuscript has to have at least two separate contributors (otherwise it could only be called a family chronicle, an autobiography, a diary or some such similar title). There are two focuses in family books. One is the network of knowledge (texts comprising novels, novellas, songs, poems, prayers, recipes, medicine, astronomy, astrology etc.), the other is the family’s social network (dates of births, christenings, weddings and deaths of family members, social affiliations, documents etc.). The act of noting down social networks in a family book, however, turns them into texts. In family books, the empirical world and the cosmos of knowledge converge as texts, as intertextual formations.