Review 4: Walter Koschmal

Walter Koschmal. ed. Perspektiven Sorbischer Literatur. Schriften des Komitees der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zur Förderung der Slawischen Studien. 19. Köln: Böhlau, 1993. 328 pp. 78 OM (cloth).

Perspektiven Sorbischer Literatur, ed. Walter Koschmal. Slavic and East European Journal 39 (1995): 153-54

Perspektiven Sorbischer Literatur comprises a lengthy introductory essay by the editor and eighteen essays dealing with various Sorbian authors and genres of Sorbian literature. Two of the articles take the form of interviews with the Sorbian authors Jurij Brězan and Róźa Domašcyna. Most of the articles are by scholars in Germany (both German and Sorbian) and with the exception of two essays by English Sorabists, all the articles are in German.

One of the most valuable contributions is Gerald Stone’s “The Sorbian Hymn.” Stone’s article, carefully researched, deals in depth with this neglected genre of Sorbian literature. He devotes attention to hymns in the three Sorbian cultural groups: The Lower Sorbs, the Lutheran Upper Sorbs, and the Catholic Upper Sorbs. Roland Marti’s “Mato Kosyk” represents the same high standard of scholarship. Kosyk, who wrote in Lower Sorbian, constitutes with the Upper Sorbs Jakub Bart-Cisinski and Handrij Zejler, what Marti calls the Triumvirat of Sorbian poetry. Dietrich Scholze contributes two articles on Sorbian theater: “Zur Entfaltung des Sorbischen Dramas”‘ and “Sorbisches Berufstheater in der DDR.” Christiana Piniekowa devotes “Das Frauenbild in der Sorbischen Literatur”‘ to the portrayal of women in Sorbian literature. Róźa Domašcyna’s ” ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (Herta Wićazek 4.2.1819- 24.3.1885)” is a study of the first Sorbian female author. Wićazec’s poetry has recently been “rediscovered” and Domašcyna’s article is a welcome contribution to the study of this neglected author.

Koschmal is to be commended both for editing this collection of essays and for contributing two submissions himself. Perspektiven Sorbischer Literatur is a worthy contribution to Sorbian studies.


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