Day 4 of my summer research leave
Today has been a day of digressions and contemplations. The goal was to go through all the remaining files on my local drive and see which ones contain information that needs to be kept and isn’t stored on the GitHub repository for the Ethica Complementoria project yet. I reviewed almost all files, identified them, checked their content, modified the filename to be more descriptive and standardised, and added the date of creation/last modification, which sent me down memory lane. One file in particular, a synopsis I made of all Ethica prints, hit especially hard: it was last modified precisely on this day, eight years ago! Such a long time ago – I remember that I was working on the edition, recording variants between the different prints and sorting out their relationship. I was so sure I would be able to finish the manuscript of the edition and send it to a publisher in 2016. I did not. I haven’t done it yet, and I am less and less sure whether I will ever “finish” this project as I had initially intended. Don’t get me wrong: I have published a big chunk of my research on the Ethica already in a monograph in 2017. What was planned as an article for editio. Internationales Jahrbuch für Editionswissenschaft turned into a book. It gives a detailed overview of all surviving copies we know of, the relation between the different editions, their chronology, extensions, and revisions. It also discusses the authorship question and argues for a more conservative approach when attributing the Ethica to Georg Greflinger: he was likely not the author but could have acted as a later redactor. I also have three complete transcriptions of prints: the editio princeps from 1643, the edition 1645, and the youngest Ethica print from 1728. Transcription of the critical 1660 print is about 70% done. However, I have never had the time to do the final touches. Both prints from 1643 and 1645 are already uploaded to the German Text Archive but have not been “released” by me because there is some manual fixing of the encoding, which takes forever. I can still aim to do as much as possible next week and perhaps get the 1643 edition publishable. We’ll see.
Aside from all the feelings, I had a couple of productive digressions today. First was a search for who hides behind “Ex libris bibl. erot. Krenneri”. In some Greflinger prints, catalogues recorded provenience, i.e. who owned the book before it made it into the library’s collection. It can be interesting to find out how certain books ended up where they did, both geographically and collection-wise. But also who they might have been made for or who in the past found them worth buying, keeping and collecting. I straightforward Google search didn’t bring many concrete results, but I was led to the notorious bibliography of erotic literature by Hayn and Gotendorf from the early C20th. In the digitized tomes, the ExLibris popped up several times, with the remark “München” (Munich). Aha! An indicator. I modified my search to include the last name “Krenner” (the nominative form of the latinised “Krenneri”) and München and found a newspaper article from 2007. Christina Hoffmann writes about “forbidden books” in the Bavarian State Library in Munich, and the name “Franz Krenner”, date and his occupation is revealed: Turns out, the man was a fiscal officer in the late 18th, early 19th century in Munich and had an extraordinary collection of erotica which were bought by the library right after his death and kept locked away from public access. You can read about the kinky official on Wikipedia.
The other digression(s) mainly were software related. I had some files in an odd format, and I could not check their contents without the proper software. Which, of course, was proprietary and for purchase, but I managed to get a test version to open the files with. From a distance of time, I could now see my search for a comfortable tool to help me visualize the print history, genealogy and stemma of the Ethica. By looking at the time stamps, the filenames and the file formats, I could see a journey of testing out, discarding, re-visiting, and moving around from one tool to another. I made the published visualization of the stemma in Scapple, so I guess at that point in time, I had found something that was good enough for the job and worked well for me. But times have changed, and I no longer want to use this type of software. I cannot export an interactive version of my stemma from Scapple, only static versions in .png or .pdf. But that’s not helpful for edits and further work. I turned to my social network on Mastodon and asked for input, and I got a nice tip from Till Grallert for a file format converter from the OPML format, which Scapple can export, to SVG, which is much more common and easier to import and export between drawing tools. I will try it out tomorrow and hopefully end the week with a nice stack of files in more durable, sustainable, and standard formats so I can still use them eight years from now!
Enjoy this visualisation of the Ethica and Tranchierbuch, and Löfflereikunst prints on a timeline, made with Zotero, tomorrow, also eight years ago 😅 !