Monday, February 27, 2017

Stollberg-Rilinger on the Holy Roman Empire

We have another 2015 title for you: The Emperor's Old Clothes: Constitutional History and the Symbolic Language of the Holy Roman Empire. The book's author in its original German is Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, University of Münster. It has been translated into English by Thomas Dunlap. From the press, Berghahn:
For many years, scholars struggled to write the history of the constitution and political structure of the Holy Roman Empire. This book argues that this was because the political and social order could not be understood without considering the rituals and symbols that held the Empire together. What determined the rules (and whether they were followed) depended on complex symbolic-ritual actions. By examining key moments in the political history of the Empire, the author shows that it was a vocabulary of symbols, not the actual written laws, that formed a political language indispensable in maintaining the common order.
Praise for the book:

“Given the empire’s multitude of political units, varying in size, structure, and relative position, students and scholars of early modern German history are accustomed to sorting a profusion of names, places, titles, and events. Stollberg-Rilinger makes this difficult task more bearable, not only through her writing—by stating, rather than merely suggesting, the point of each vignette—but also, more importantly, by articulating a “logic” of the empire’s great constitutional complexity, and its transformation. Her descriptions, here skillfully rendered in Dunlap’s translation, show that legal history can vividly link the ideational and the material.” –Sara Ludin

And here's the TOC:
Chapter 1. Creation and Depiction of the Empire: Worms, 1495
Chapter 2. Cleavage of the Sacral Community: Augsburg, 1530
Chapter 3. More Strife than Ever Before: Regensburg, 1653/54
Chapter 4. Parallel Worlds: Frankfurt-Regensburg-Vienna, 1764/65 
ConclusionThe Symbolic Logic of the Empire

Further information is available here