Randfiguren? Ernst Brandes’ and Franz Josias von Hendrich’s Comments on the French Revolution as New Perspectives on Old Topics

Randfiguren? Ernst Brandes’ and Franz Josias von Hendrich’s Comments on the French Revolution as New Perspectives on Old Topics
Date
14 October 2021, 5.45pm - 7.30pm
Type
Lecture
Venue
Bedford Room, G37, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Description

English Goethe Society Lecture - POSTPONED

It is anticipated that this lecture will be held in October 2022.

Speaker: Maike Oergel-Dench (Nottingham)

Looking at Brandes’ Politische Betrachtungen über die französische Revolution (1790) and Hendrich’s Freymütige Gedanken über die allerwichtigste Angelegenheit Deutschlands (1794), the paper discusses these two writers as examples of political and cultural commentators who were widely read and well respected at the time but are now either completely forgotten (Hendrich) or only a historical footnote (Brandes). The aim is less to resurrect them as lost ‘greats’ than to illuminate, through reading their book-length comments, the complex and shifting reactions to the Revolution in Germany and to ask why their considerable contemporary fame evaporated so quickly. Both were early supporters of the original aims of the Revolution, which does not quite fit the picture of the limited reception Brandes has had as a political conservative, nor the expectation one might have of Hendrich, given his life-long high-level involvement in the administration of Saxe-Meiningen. This approach of investigating ‘temporary canonicity’ yields twofold gains: writers who are widely read by their contemporaries provide insights into aspects of the contemporary context that may have become obscured, while their marginalisation may provide clues, or even evidence, for subtle historical shifts.

Attendance free; advance online booking required. 

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Jane Lewin
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