Manitius lending library (19th century)
Room: B 3-306
The collection is in the stack room in the central library. Single copies can be requested for use in the Multimedia Centre.
Contents of the collection
In 1973 the University Library procured the lending library of L. O. Manitius of Suhl in Thuringia. It dates back to the first half of the 19th century and comprises almost 2,000 volumes. From the gaps in the original numbering of the books we can conclude that the collection must have been about a third larger. Unfortunately the original lending library catalogues were not passed on.
In terms of its contents the Manitius lending library is a typical 19th century small-town lending library, and thus an object of literary-sociological interest in the social history of popular reading material.
It comprises entirely German-language literature, but the classical canon of German literary history is only marginally represented. Narrative prose accounts for 75 percent of the 1,500 books in the collection. One half of the collection consists of adventure stories, crime and horror stories and tales of knights or bandits, while the other half consists of social, family and love stories and novels.
Fashionable bestselling authors of these genres in the early 19th century such as Heinrich Clausen, Friedrich Hackländer, Christian August Vulpius, Karl Gottlob Cramer, Friedrich Laun and August Lafontaine are amply represented. Most of the translations from French and English are also historical adventure novels (by Eugène Sue, Alexandre Dumas and Sir Walter Scott in particular).
The society and family novels include a remarkably high proportion of literature by female authors such as Charlotte von Ahlefeld, Caroline Auguste Fischer, Wilhelmine von Gersdorf, Christiane Benedictine Naubert, Julie von Richthofen and Amalie Schoppe. This part of the collection provides a wide spectrum of early 19th century literature by women that is seldom found elsewhere.
Plays – dramas, comedies, vaudevilles and burlesques – make up 10 percent of the collection. These include comedies by Karl Meisl, Johann Friedrich Jünger and Julius von Voss.
The categories poetry, travel writing, anecdotes, aphorisms and humour are represented by around 40 books each.
The remaining 180 or so books in the collection are divided equally between historical and political works (primarily works by Chateaubriand and Tocqueville), biographies (mostly of royalty), works on regional geography and ethnology, natural history and anthropology as well as books offering advice (in particular on marriage, female virtue and domestic life).