On 20 April 2023, the fourth and fifth volumes of the book series “Baltische literarische Kultur” (Baltic literary culture) were launched in the hall of the Estonian Academy of Sciences in Tallinn. The publication was made possible by the joint efforts of LIT Verlag and the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre. The two new volumes were collections of articles entitled “Briefe, Recht und Gericht im polnischen Livland am Beispiel von David Hilchen” (Letters, Law and Courts of Justice in Polish Livonia. The Case of David Hilchen) and “Literarischer Wandel in der Geschichte der baltischen Literaturen” (Literary change in the history of Baltic literatures).

The article collection “Briefe, Recht und Gericht im polnischen Livland am Beispiel von David Hilchen” (Letters, Law and Court in Polish Livonia. The Case of David Hilchen) was compiled and edited by Kristi Viiding, Hesi Siimets-Gross and Thomas Hoffmann in cooperation with Martin Klöker) and its focus is the extensive Latin correspondence in 1577–1610 of the most influential legal scholar and humanist in early modern Livonia, David Hilchen. Unfortunately, this source has seldom been used in research on the legal history of the Polish period in Livonia. In the collection seven Estonian, German, and Polish researchers of legal and literary history analyse the role and content of the correspondence, and also the relationship of the letters to court cases, files and the legal sources of the period. The turn of the 16th/17th centuries in Livonia was a period of development of the local, educated, secular culture of expertise and a time of transition from the oral law of the Middle Ages to written, educated law. The articles are based on papers presented at the international conference “Literary culture, law and the courts in Polish-era Livonia in light of the epistolary heritage of David Hilchen”, held at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre in 2019.

The article collection “Literarischer Wandel in der Geschichte der baltischen Literaturen” (Literary change in the history of the Baltic literatures), compiled and edited by Martin Klöker, brings together papers presented by literary scholars from Estonia, Latvia, Germany, and the Netherlands at the annual conference of the Baltic Historical Commission (Baltische Historische Kommission) in Göttingen in 2018. In the nine contributions to the volume, a selective overview is given of the complicated processes of change in the region and the tightly interwoven literary histories in Estonian, Latvian, German, and Latin. Analysis of literary change offers the opportunity to characterise and comprehend the literary history of the region, to overcome the one-dimensional perspective based on national languages and to avoid the representation of literary history as only a story of decline or success.

The book series “Baltic literary culture” publishes scholarly articles and sources mostly from literature in German and Latin from the Estonian and Latvian region. The concept of literature is approached in interdisciplinary terms, particularly emphasising the social-historical basis of the written word in the context of the book, the library, history of education and scholarship, and church history.

More information about the series and books can be found HERE.