Literature in Bavaria - works from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

bavarikon displays Bavaria's literary treasures, selected highlights with a close relationship to Bavaria as far as their creation, tradition and impact are concerned and that have taken their place in the history of literature. Range and diversity of this literature – spanning twelve centuries – may be gleaned from examples of digitised handwritten texts, some with magnificent illuminations, prints, scripts and letters.

Early and High Middle Ages

Important works such as the Wessobrunner Gebet (Wessobrunn Prayer, Clm 22053), the Parzival (Parsifal, Cgm 19) by Wolfram von Eschenbach or the manuscript A (Cgm 34) of the Nibelungenlied (Song of the Nibelungs), declared UNESCO-world documentary heritage, originated in the early and high mediaeval period.

Late Middle Ages

The literature of the late mediaeval period is marked by its wide range of material, themes, genres and formats; The epic cycle Das Buch der Abenteuer (Book of Adventures, Cgm 1) by Ulrich Füetrer is an edited collation of 13 courtly romances of the thirteenth century and with 12.000 verses the most substantial manuscript on parchment in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. One of the most surprising narratives of the German late mediaeval period is the humorous-educational epic Der Ring (The Ring) by Heinrich Wittenwiler dating to the fifteenth century.

Early Modern Age

With the beginning of the modern age, in Augsburg the popular book Fortunatus (Fortunatus [The Fortunate], Rar. 480) was published in 1509, one of the first great early bourgeois novels. The literary Baroque of the seventeenth century is represented within the collections by Jesuit educational plays such as the Cenodoxus (Cenodoxus [The Vainglorious], Clm 11797) as well as by the collection of songs entitled Rhitmorum varietas of Johannes Werlin (Variety of Rhythms, from Cgm 3636). Probably the most important Bavarian novel of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century was Das Leben des guten Jünglings Engelhof (The Life of the Good Youth Engelhof, Res/P.o.germ. 1587 x) by Lorenz Westenrieder.

Nineteenth Century

In this collection are preserved diverse works, manuscripts, letters and other material that dates back to the nineteenth century; for example, writings composed by Jean Paul, Adalbert Stifter, August Graf von Platen or Paul Heyse. A rarity are the books of minutes kept by the Munich Poets' Association "Zwanglose Gesellschaft" (informal society) with their numerous caricatures and drawings by the "Kasperlgrafen" (Punchinello Count) Franz von Pocci. Valuable unique items by authors of non-Bavarian provenance such as Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, Honoré de Balzac or Leo Tolstoi are held in the collection of cimelia-autographs.

Twentieth Century

Political, satirical, and critical trends of the dominant culture and of contemporary developments of the first decades of the twentieth century can be found in the manuscripts of the following authors: Ernst Toller, Heinrich Lautensack, Oswald Spengler and Lena Christ.

Further collections of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek on the subject in bavarikon

>> This collection contains inventory of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library).

To the collections by topic of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek