Thomas P. Becker: Die "Wemütige Klage" des Hermann Löher. Eine Anklageschrift gegen Hexenverfolgung als Ego-Dokument, in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
The "Wemütige Klage der frommen Unschültigen" (printed in Amsterdam in 1676) was written by Hermann Löher, a former juror in Rheinbach, as an indictment against the fury of witchcraft persecutions. Foremost, it addressed the Pope, the emperor, the princes and the high clergy of the Reich. The "Wemütige Klage", therefore, rather belongs to the category 'non-fiction' or 'reference' than to the genre 'autobiography'. The narrative style of the author, however, who refers to his personal experiences as a juror even when discussing the demonological literature of his times, turns the objective discussion into an egodocument.
Kai Bremer: Conversus, confirma fratres tuos. Zum 'Ich' in Konversionsberichten in den ersten Jahrzehnten nach der Reformation, in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
During the Reformation, works by converts about conversions are distinguished by a very intense urge to confess, regardless of the denomination of the convert. Justification for this incisive step is another need of converts. Some of them even stress the continuity of their theological position, in order to extenuate their act of conversion. Nevertheless or due to this, most converts talk about their conversions only very timidly. After all, their chief interest was not to present their own conversion, but to appeal to former fellow-believers to follow in their footsteps. It is, therefore, not surprising that even though some of the analyzed texts are explicitly written in the first person-form, autobiographical allusions are rather hard to find.
Stefan Elit: 'Ich' war einmal. Literaturwissenschaftliche Problemhorizonte bei Subjektivität in Texten, in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
This introductory essay tries to outline some of the problems that literary critics come across when dealing with subjectivity in texts, problems that result from discussions within this discipline over the last few decades. On the one hand, fundamental hermeneutical difficulties with the 'I' will be pointed out. On the other hand, I will try to show, how fundamental dispositions and questions of literary criticism have made research on the textual 'I' less popular for this discipline, at least for a literary criticism in a strict sense, than for the historical sciences. Despite of this postulation of a twofold distance of literary criticism, we can concede that our maximum scepticism is confined by more recent points of discussion such as the 'return of the author' or literary criticism as an anthropological science and, of course, a constant transgression of our discipline towards genuinely biographical and historical interests.
Stephan Kraft: Literarisiertes Leben und gelebte Literatur - Interferenzen von Autobiographie, Briefkultur und galantem Roman um 1700, in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
The essay analyzes interferences of life and literature in courtly egodocuments around 1700. Taking an autobiographical story à clef by Aurora von Königsmarck as an example, we will show how a real life story is transformed by literary means into a typical gallant story. A second example, the correspondence of Sophie Dorothea von Hannover and count Philipp von Königsmarck, shows that the literary models stemming from gallantry could turn into real life patterns. The gallant discourse around 1700 encourages the obliteration of boundaries between life and literature. The self-reflective traits of the early modern 'I' are, thereby, intensified. On the one hand, this opens up new scopes of action. On the other hand, a more complex form of introspection and observation of others is demanded from the participants in this discourse. This intensified self-reflection, therefore, proves to be risky.
Stephan Laux: "Etwas gross" aufschreiben. Quellenkritische Anmerkungen zum "Zeytregister" des Ulmer Chronisten Hans Heberle (1597-1677), in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
The "Zeytregister" of Hans Heberle, a farmer and artisan from the Ulm area, is an exceptional testimony of a 17th century author with a rural background. By combining personal experiences and the description of war actions, Heberle's mental horizon reaches far beyond the narrow perspective of management and housekeeping. Taking into account the intention and practice of writing, the possibilities of using this source as an egodocument, i.e. for a closer view on the individual, are relativised. Notes on family members concerning mainly their birth and death, as well as descriptions of personal experiences and observations are confined by the absorbing account of the war. The selective choice of topics and the more or less complete lack of affective moments can also be explained by analyzing Heberle's writing technique. Judging from the content and formal aspects of the manuscript, the author worked on his chronicle at a considerable distance from the events.
Andreas Merzhäuser: Das 'illiterate' Ich als Historiograph der Katastrophe. Zur Konstruktion von Geschichte in Hans Heberles "Zeytregister" (1618-1672), in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
Since it is a rare example of a chronicle describing the 30 Years War from a rural perspective, the "Zeytregister" of Hans Heberle, a shoemaker from Neenstetten, is one of the best known egodocuments of the 17th century. The following essay aims to ascertain the possibilities and limits of historical understanding by taking this prominent example and testing different approaches. One of the conclusions is that it is not so much the explicit statements in an egodocument that inform us about the individual disposition of the author. It is, on the contrary, the tendency to construct and remodel individual experience and the thus created tensions with the discursive arrangement. Methodological ideas, using an interdisciplinary combination of literary and historical approaches, follow.
Olaf Richter: "Ego in amorem inciderem ... et ego tristis spectator" - Die Autobiographie des jülich-bergischen Rates Petrus Simonius Ritz (1562-1622), in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
The following essay presents the autobiography of Petrus Simonius Ritz (1562-1622), Counsel of the Elector of Trier, the Duke of Jülich and Berg and later the Duke of Pfalz-Neuburg. The text was written in 1604 and has not yet been published. Since 1595, the author served the Duke of Jülich-Berg. Until his death, he participated in all the important political events that took place in the lower Rhineland during this critical period. Taking into account the stereotypes that Simonius is using in his autobiography, the great value of the text lies in its detailed description of the author's observations and perceptions. Simonius reports his education and marriage, the illness and death of his first wife, his second marriage, and, of course, everyday life at court.
Andreas Rutz: Ego-Dokument oder Ich-Konstruktion? Selbstzeugnisse als Quellen zur Erforschung des frühneuzeitlichen Menschen, in: zeitenblicke 1 (2002), Nr. 2.
The essay is an introduction to the methodological discussion about egodocuments and self-testimonies. Especially in German-speaking countries this discussion aims at establishing an adequate terminology that helps to characterize and classify these texts. In spite of all formal differences that might result from such a standardization, it is assumed that egodocuments and self-testimonies allow access to the historical individual and its personal manifestations. What kind of an 'I', however, are we meeting in a diary, an autobiography, a letter or an interrogation? As every historiographical text, a statement concerning the proper self is a narrative construction of meaning that does not portray the self of a human being directly or genuinely. Moreover, the historical subject constructs itself anew in the text and can only be grasped as an image of itself. Nevertheless, this self-construction mirrors the historical mentality of its author and, at best, allows insights into its individual thoughts and feelings.