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12 Author and Authenticity in Conring’s New Discourse on the Roman-German Emperor: A Seventeenth-Century Case Study

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Chapter Summary

This chapter throws light on broader questions of authorship and authenticity by tracing the publishing history of the New Discourse. The questions include: What is the relationship between the New Discourse, which Hermann Conring rejected, the Exercitatio de imperatore Romano Germanico, which he published and republished, and the De Germanorum imperio Romano, which is acknowledged to have been one of his most important writings? The first of those other versions was, of course, the New Discourse on the Roman-German Emperor, that "primitive supposititious child" whose birth Conring found so distressing. It was published about one year after von Hoym's Exercitatio, in an unknown place, but probably in the Netherlands. The case presented in the chapter merely reflects clearly how difficult it is in any time and place to specify exactly what is entailed by writing, and how far exactly one may hold writers responsible for what they write.

Keywords: New Discourse; Hermann Conring; Roman-German Emperor



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