Martin Opitz (1597 - 1639)
To mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of Martin Opitz on 23 December 1597, a colloquium took place in Görlitz involving a list of speakers as international as it was interdisciplinary. In line with the occasion, the conference essayed as comprehensive an account as possible of Opitz' work and the impact it had in its day. The guiding principle underlying the papers presented here was a concept of 'life-world' as "perceived reality in which social groups and individuals not only act and behave but also themselves produce reality through their thinking and actions" (Rudolf Vierhaus). In the context of the early modern age, however, such construction of reality took place in text varieties of a highly circumscribed nature, structured by traditional and normative concepts. The textual and perceptive patterns themselves are not however geared to concepts of 'reality' or 'authenticity' such as those formulated later in history but to a form of reality represented by binding standards. The various contributions range from systematic studies to the history of genres and perennial themes, while others concentrate on individual works. Common to them all is a concern to cast new light on the keynote subject of the conference. As such they open up new avenues for exploring the life and work of this 'father of German literature'.
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