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Daniele Vecchiato: ‘Legal Cultures and Literary Trials in the Age of Goethe’

Virginia Woolf Building, Strand Campus, London

13 Feb Promo - 780x450GermanSone3 Part of the German Research Seminar

Daniele Vecchiato from King's College London presents ‘Legal Cultures and Literary Trials in the Age of Goethe’. 

The motif of the Vehmic Court (Vehmgericht) – a medieval secret tribunal – enjoyed a remarkable popularity in German literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. From 1773, the year of publication of Goethe’s Götz von Berlichingen, which can be considered as the initiator of this literary phenomenon, until 1810, when the last important work on the subject – Kleist’s Käthchen von Heilbronn – was first staged, an impressive number of dramas and novels incorporating the Vehmic Court were written in the German lands. In addition, not only Goethe and Kleist but also some of the ‘minor’ writers were translated into other European languages and even inspired new fiction on the subject, thus creating a prolific intercultural exchange. The presentation will provide an overview (and gather feedback) on the objectives, methodological questions, and early results of VehmeLit, a EU-funded project based at King’s that investigates the development of the Vehmic Court sub-genre in the Age of Goethe from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective.

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