Material Text Cultures

Rebecca Hirt

 Rebecca Hirt

Modern German Literature
Department of German Studies

Telephone:  06221 543225



Department of German Studies
Heidelberg University
Hauptstr. 207–209
D – 69117 Heidelberg

Education and Employment History

Research Interests

PhD Project: Calendar and Literature in the Early Modern Period

Writing in calendars is one of the most important and prominent practices in regard to culture, everyday life and writing in the early modern period. Since the advent of printing in Europe, calendars have been a constant in workshop catalogues. Invented in 1539, the calendrical diary is one of the best-known and most widely used early modern periodicals. Calendrical diaries consist of a calendar of the twelve months, with each calendar page set against a mostly blank page for handwritten entries. The printed calendar pages comprise important astronomical, medical and everyday knowledge (botany, agriculture, housekeeping, contemporary history, curiosa etc.); the writing page gives the users room to record personal experiences and thoughts. In the calendars of the 16th and 17th centuries, people thus wrote and reflected about knowledge in specific ways.

This PhD-project is based on the hypothesis that calendars were such a fundamental principle of organising life and knowledge in the early modern period and that writing in calendars was such a prominent cultural practice that it reflected on contemporary literature and was made fruitful in various texts of different genres. In knowledge texts, narrative forms of prose and autobiographical texts, calendrical aspcets are investigated (e.g. calendrical principles of order, calendrical knowledge, calendrical reflection on time and life, calendrical writing practices, etc.) and the functions it adopts in the individual texts are analysed. In this way, a ‘poetics of the calendrical’ is developed for the literature of the early modern period.


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