PATRIOTIC SONGS FOR GERMAN-SPEAKERS IN REVOLUTIONARY FRANCE

Dekadische Lieder für die Franken am Rhein.

Strasbourg, ‘in dem Zeitungs-Komptoir auf dem Paradeplaz No. 2’, ‘3tes Jahr der Republik’ [1794].

12mo, pp. [8], 134, [2 (contents)]; printed in blackletter; slight spotting and browning throughout, 2 small ink marks; front free endpaper with elaborate full-page manuscript ownership inscription dated 29 November 1794 (see below); in contemporary sprinkled boards; some wear, but an attractive copy.

£450

Approximately:
US $552€523

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Dekadische Lieder für die Franken am Rhein.

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First (and only?) edition of this very uncommon collection of hymns and patriotic songs printed in Strasbourg for the German-speaking population of the French Rhineland, by the prolific Alsatian writer, dramatist, and poet August Lamey (1772–1861).

The repurposing of well-known tunes for republican songs was an early product of the Revolution (and was echoed in liturgies rewritten to celebrate patriotic festivals), but this appears to be one of the first to be written specifically for German-speaking regions. The songs cover subjects ranging from the immortality of the soul to stoicism, the awakening of a Frenchman on the morning of 14 July to the martyrs for freedom. While the French-language equivalents tended to adopt French folk tunes, Lamey’s German draws on the melodies of Lutheranism: the ‘Lied von der Republic’ is to be sung to ‘Ein feste Burg’; the hymn ‘An den Schöpfer’ to ‘Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern’, and so forth.

This copy is notable for the elaborate ownership inscription: ‘This Song Book, written after the new Constitution, belongs to Frau Susanna Katharina Hammännin of Oberhaüßbergen. Written on the ninth of Frimaire in the third year of the Republic’ (trans.).

OCLC records copies at Indiana, Harvard, Freiburg, Bern, Mainz, and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.

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