The Letters of Constantin Brunner
November 8, 2010 10:52 AM   Subscribe

The letters of the Jewish German thinker Constantin Brunner were buried behind his grave to safeguard them from the Nazis. Now, a joint German-Israeli project is putting the letters online.

Constantin Brunner [b. 1862 in Altona, d. 1937 in The Hague] is one of the historically influential German-Jewish intellectuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His expressionist and life reformist work attracted many intellectuals, artists and followers of the Youth Movement. At the same time, Brunner's unrelenting search for a righteous way of life alienated many of his coevals. He corresponded with people ranging from Wilhelm Raabe and Theodor Fontane, to Walther Rathenau, Gustav Landauer, Martin Buber and Rose Ausländer.

The impact of his work was violently interrupted by National Socialism. After the Holocaust, Brunner's surviving followers kept alive the memory of the philosopher and his work, yet did so rather one-sidedly and emphatically. Consequently, 70 years after Brunner's death the importance of his work for the intellectual history of Germany and Europe is rarely noted.

Brunner's literary remains were held after the war by the International Constantin Brunner Institute in The Hague. In 2009, they were transferred to the Leo Baeck Institute at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

The collection of Brunner's letters, which until today remained nearly entirely unedited and virtually unknown, will close a gap in German-Jewish intellectual, cultural and political history. The research project aims to present the person Brunner as well as his philosophical concerns. By a broad historical contextualization, the project wants to facilitate a discussion of Brunner's works.

Some examples (pdf) of the letters have already been posted. A print edition with commentary is planned. In 2012, a conference on Brunner will take place in Berlin, marking the 150th anniversary of his birth.
posted by No Robots (5 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I'll poke through this later, I just wanted to say that this is a very well worded post, so thank you for that.
posted by Think_Long at 10:58 AM on November 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by clavdivs at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2010

Thanks for this!

My curiosity piqued, I went looking for some additional material on Brunner. This site in particular was helpful:
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2010

Brunners letters to Bubers interest me.
google books has a preview copy of Bubers letters. All the pages mentioning brunner are not included. pg 218-219 have a listing for brunner but only mention an article Buber was going to publish...franz kafkas letter is also on those pages as a BTW.
posted by clavdivs at 5:38 PM on November 8, 2010

A letter from Brunner to Buber is one of the posted examples. The two men had a very long association that was not always a happy one.
posted by No Robots at 6:25 PM on November 8, 2010

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