Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Alte deutsche Lieder
Neu bearbeitet von Anton Birlinger und Wilhelm Crecelius.
(The Boy’s Magic Horn, Old German Songs, Newly edited by Anton Birlinger and Wilhelm Crecelius)
by Ludwig Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano
With original drawings by H. Merte, Woodcuts by C. G. Specht
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EXQUISITE VICTORIAN BINDING
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Publisher: Wiesbaden und Leipzig, Killinger, Germany
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These two volumes are fine specimens of decorative Victorian binding. Des Knaben Wunderhorn: Alte deutsche Lieder (German; “The boy’s magic horn: old German songs”) is a collection of German folk poems and songs edited by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, and published in Heidelberg, Baden.
The collection of love, soldier’s, wandering and children’s songs was an important source of idealized folklore in the Romantic nationalism of the 19th century. Des Knaben Wunderhorn became widely popular across the German-speaking world; Goethe, one of the most influential writers of the time, declared that Des Knaben Wunderhorn “has its place in every household”.
Arnim and Brentano, like other early 19th-century song collectors, such as the Englishman Thomas Percy, freely modified the poems in their collection. The editors, both poets themselves, invented some of their own poems. Some poems were modified to fit poetic meter, to conform to then-modern German spelling, or otherwise to conform more closely to an idealized, Romantic “folk style” (Naturpoesie). A 20th-century critical edition by Heinz Rölleke describes the origin of each poem in the collection. Brentano was motivated more by writing his own material than by a strict preservation of the original folk songs.
The young proponents of Romanticism, strongly taken by national sentiments, devoted themselves to the collection and study of the origins of Germanic history in folk songs, fairy-tales, myths, sagas (Nibelung), and Germanic literature. Everything untouched by the negative effects of modern civilization in their eyes, was considered good and helpful for the “Gesundung der Nation” (Recovery of the nation). It was under Brentano’s direction that the Brothers Grimm began collecting their fairytales.
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CONDITION: These books are in good condition. Hardcover. Blue canvas with exquisite detailing showing a boy with a horn on a horse surrounded by a myriad of follies done in gilt. Red, black and gilt decor is embossed and continues to spine. Edges and corners are slightly rubbed. Cover hinges are worn. Spine color is faded on both volumes. Volume two spine has a tear at bottom. Endpapers are intact. Hinges are strong. Binding is square. Text block is slightly foxed in places, title page heavily foxed. Both books feature lovely frontispieces with portraits and tissue guards. All edges gilt (bright). Illustrations are numerous and impressive. These books are simply stunning!
Two volumes, Vol 1 576 pages, Vol 2 804 pages, 6.5” x 9.5″