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11.05.2017 - Batty Weber's “Abreißkalender” column now available online

Digital database honours popular Luxembourg author

Author and publisher Batty Weber (1860-1940) is a major figure in Luxembourg's cultural history. The collected manuscripts of his "Abreißkalender" series are now available for the first time in an online database created by the Institute for Luxemburgish language and literatures at the University of Luxembourg.

Batty Weber’s “Abreißkalender" (“page-a-day calendar”) column, which appeared almost daily in theLuxemburger Zeitungfrom 1913 to 1940, echoes his ideas, humour and witty observations. More than any other historical document, the calendar illustrates the daily lives, social climate and cultural attitudes of past generations, bringing the early 20th century Luxembourg vividly to life for us.

Now, over 7 000 of Weber's texts are available online at http://battyweber.uni.lu. The website’s search function helps users browse its contents, unveiling for the first time the sheer range of topics addressed by his series. To name only a few examples: 788 texts are about the Moselle river, 65 present contemporary movies, 87 focus on war (primarily World War One), and no fewer than 17 deal with author Émile Zola.

"The documents' condition, volume and inaccessibility hampered any work on them. With the digital database, you can quickly explore the series with keywords and compare results. In addition to discover specific search terms you can also follow the evolution of Batty Weber's ideas,” explains Prof Peter Gilles, Professor for linguistics at the University of Luxembourg. “We have also grouped his series by topic (e.g. theatre, sport, gossip, and so forth) in a way that complements the keyword search, and this means that the database allows far more complex research tasks than was previously possible. Anyone interested in Weber, from pupils to academics, can easily use the resource, which bridges the gap between the Luxembourg of today and the Luxembourg of yesteryear."

Prof. Peter Gilles and Dr Anne-Marie Millim from the University of Luxembourg managed the project.

A diverse literary legacy

In addition, the recently published anthology “Batty Weber: Werk und Wirkung”("Batty Weber: work and impact") takes a close look at the storyteller, intellectual and writer Batty Weber.

Dr Anne-Marie Millim, book author and senior lecturer for literature at the University of Luxembourg, explains, "With theAbreißkalender, the name of Batty Weber became familiar to a wide audience as someone who chronicled everyday life. But he also produced a large number of literary works. This is the first collection illustrating the literary output of one of the most important Luxembourg intellectuals of the first half of the 20th century."