The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Monday, July 14, 2008

Literary Anecdotes, vol ?

For my current research on Adam Smith, I was looking at his reception among the mid-eighteenth century Germans, notably Herder and Lessing, both of whom were the only ones for a long time who viewed Smith's moral theory with a mind to aesthetic applications.  Lessing's Laocoon, an aesthetic treatise, has been available in English for over a century now, but most of Herder's works are still unavailable to non-German speakers.  In fact, I read one of his works in which Smith is mentioned, and this was only translated into English for the first time in 2006.  

I don't know much about Johann Gottfried Herder, but I know this: holy shit he wrote a lot!!  The standard edition of his works, Samtliche Werke, consists of no less than thirty two volumes, which is even more remarkable since he only lived to the age of 57.  

Here's the amusing bit: not sure if this is an apocryphal story, but apparently the editor of the gargantuan edition of Herder's works, Bernard Suphan, eventually committed suicide.  It is entirely possible that his job had at least something to do with this as he stood on a huge pile of these works to hang himself.  


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