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THE NATION’S CANON AND THE BOOK TRADE

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Chapter Summary

Taking the case of a book series claiming to be a ‘Library of the Complete German National Literature’ (running from 1835 until the early 1860s), this article looks at the emergence of a readership for the medieval classics in what was, around these decades, becoming a self-evidently national canon. The commercially-driven enterprise is here presented, not only in the context of the ongoing professionalisation and growing academic prestige and ethos of the philologies, but also in its competition with the dissemination forum of bibliophile societies with publications-for-members. Between sociability, academic careerism and a widening appeal of ‘nationality’, the popularisation and nationwide acceptance of the idea of a ‘national literature’ as a self-evident taxonomic unit is here traced in its early, hesitant beginnings.

10.1163/9789401206471_019
/content/books/b9789401206471s019
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