"...only to be expressed like this in European"
Languages, Politics and Sociability in the Varnhagen Circle
October 1st-3rd, 2004
Schloss Gnadenthal near Kleve, Germany
Tagungsprospekt und Anmeldeformular:(Acrobat Reader erforderlich)
Gefördert durch die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Literarischer Gesellschaften
und Gedenkstätten aus Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung
für Kultur und Medien; Ingeborg Dähne (Villa Belriguardo)
In Kooperation mit dem Niederländischen Germanistenverband
Vereniging van Germanisten aan de Nederlandse Universiteiten und
The salon of the Varnhagen couple was a meeting point for travellers
where many different languages were spoken. The Swedish diplomat
Brinckmann or the American Albert Brisbane discussed politics and
literature, cosmopolitans as Alexander von Humboldt and Count Hermann
von Pückler-Muskau talked about their journeys. Reports in
newspapers and journals brought the European and transatlantic topics
of those conversations from the Varnhagen circle into the general
public of the "Vormaerz" era: Saint-Simonism, emancipation
of the jews, the greek struggle for indepence, the abolition of
The conference of the Varnhagen society will try to reconstruct
this cultural and political transfer and to analyse how it made
European perspectives possible in a time dominated by nationalistic
As letter writers Rahel and Karl August Varnhagen transgressed political
and linguistic borders, they felt at home in the literatures of
the world. They translated poems by Goethe into French, edited Racine's
drama "Andromache" and were the first to bring Pushkins
works to the attention of the German reading public. Rahel's sister-in-law
Rosa Maria Assing and her daughters Ottilie and Ludmilla Assing
also worked for an intercultural exchange of ideas in the sense
of "Weltliteratur" by translating chants of the French
Troubadours, political essays by Mazzini or the autobiography of
the afroamerican civil rights activist Frederick Douglass. The extent
of this exchange is documented by the letters and manuscripts incorporated
in the collection Varnhagen von Ense.
After "Rahel Varnhagen and her sisters" (October 23-25,
1998, Evangelische Akademie Iserlohn) and "Ludmilla Assing
in Florence" (April 21-22, 2000, Villa Romana, Florence) this
will be our third conference.
Schloss Gnadenthal can be reached by bus from Kleve Hauptbahnhof
(Central Station) or Nijmwegen (Netherlands). Participants from
abroad could use Niederrhein Airport Weeze which connects with Berlin
and London (with Ryan Air).
The stay at Schloss Gnadenthal for one person costs 49 Euro per
night (plus 15 Euro for a single room) and includes four meals.
On Sunday, October 3rd, there will be an excursion to Schloss Moyland
where on September 11th, 1740 Frederick the Great and Voltaire met
for the first time.
Varnhagen Gesellschaft e. V.
Tel. ++49 (0) 221 42 54 30
Fax ++49 (0) 22 33 69 27 31
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
with best compliments
Dr. Nikolaus Gatter
Varnhagen Gesellschaft e. V.