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“Censorship is Official Critique”: Contesting the Limits of Scholarship in the Censorship of the Hallische Jahrbücher

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2014

Matthew Bunn
Affiliation:
University of Texas at Austin
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Extract

While censorship touched upon the careers of every German writer in the nineteenth century, a few cases stood out to contemporaries, defining their era. If the Demagogenverfolgung stamped the early 1820s and the prohibition of Young Germany the 1830s, the assault on left-wing or “Young” Hegelianism in 1842–43 was the major censorship case of the decade. Banning the Deutsche Jahrbücher, Rheinische Zeitung, and Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung was part of a significant, coordinated effort to undermine a small but influential faction of radical social critics. This wave of intellectual persecution radicalized the left, sowing the seeds for Marx's thoroughgoing assault on the foundations of European state and society. Understanding these cases in the context of a broader process of the transformation of censorship practices in modern Germany, however, remains an incomplete project for historians.

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Copyright © Central European History Society of the American Historical Association 2014 

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References

1 The journal began its print run as the Hallische Jahrbücher (at times also called “Hallesche”), its name reminiscent of Hegel's own Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik. Although “Jahrbücher” means literally “annual(s),” the Hallische Jahrbücher typically appeared six times weekly. Pressures to submit the journal to Prussian censorship prompted the move from Halle to Dresden, where the Saxon publisher Otto Wigand had printed the journal since its inception. With the change of editorial residence came a change in title, which, as we shall see, brought on legal difficulties later when the journal became a target of the Saxon government.

2 Mah, Harold, The End of Philosophy, the Origin of “Ideology”: Karl Marx and the Crisis of the Young Hegelians (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1987)Google Scholar.

3 This point goes back at least to the work of William Brazill, who argued that for Young Hegelians, religious critique was paramount and not a form of crypto-politics. See Brazill, William J., The Young Hegelians (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1970)Google Scholar.

4 Plachta, Bodo, Damnatur, Toleratur, Admittitur. Studien und Dokumenten zur literarischen Zensur im 18. Jahrhundert (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1994), 11Google Scholar.

5 Lenman, Robin, “Germany,” in The War for the Public Mind: Political Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. Goldstein, Robert (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000), 39Google Scholar.

6 Laursen, John Christian, “Literatures of Publicity and the Right to Freedom of the Press in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany: The Case of Karl Friedrich Bahrdt,” in Shifting the Boundaries: Transformation of the Languages of Public and Private in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Castiglione, Dario and Sharpe, Lesley (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1995), 110Google Scholar.

7 Tortarolo, Edoardo, “Censorship and the Conception of the Public in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany: Or, are Censorship and Public Opinion Mutually Exclusive?,” in Shifting the Boundaries, ed. Castiglione and Sharpe, 134Google Scholar.

8 Darnton, Robert, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995)Google Scholar; Darnton, Robert, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982)Google Scholar. See also Harrison, Nicholas, Circles of Censorship: Censorship and Its Metaphors in French History, Literature, and Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)Google Scholar.

9 Rosenfeld, Sophia, “Writing the History of Censorship in the Age of Enlightenment,” in Postmodernism and the Enlightenment: New Perspectives in Eighteenth-Century French Intellectual History, ed. Gordon, Daniel (New York: Routledge, 2001), 132Google Scholar.

10 LaVopa, Anthony J., “The Politics of Enlightenment: Friedrich Gedike and German Professional Ideology,” The Journal of Modern History 62, no. 1 (1990): 3456CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

11 Göpfert, Herbert G. and Weyrauch, Ermann, Unmoralisch an sich. Zensur im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1988), 191Google Scholar.

12 Toews, John Edward, Hegelianism: The Path Toward Dialectical Humanism, 1805–1841 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980)Google Scholar.

13 Breckman, Warren, Marx, the Young Hegelians, and the Origins of Radical Social Theory: Dethroning the Self (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999)Google Scholar.

14 Spies, Andre, “Towards a Prosopography of Young Hegelians,” German Studies Review 19, no. 2 (May 1996): 321339CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hundt, Martin, Der Redaktionsbriefwechsel der Hallischen, Deutschen und Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbücher, 1837–1844 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 Ohles, Frederik, Germany's Rude Awakening: Censorship in the Land of the Brothers Grimm (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1992)Google Scholar.

16 Wachsmuth's letter makes clear that he was conscious of the requirement that he serve as censor when he took the position in Leipzig. Though it was not uncommon for professors to work as censors, Saxony stands out from its peers in its regular employment of academics as censors. Wilhelm Wachsmuth to Ministerium des Cultus und öffentlichen Unterrichts, January 12, 1832, Sächsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden (hereafter SHStAD), 10736 MdI Nr. 2024, 3.

17 Wilhelm Wachsmuth to Ministerium des Cultus und öffentlichen Unterrichts, January 12, 1832, SHStAD, 10736 MdI Nr. 2024, 5.

18 As a professor, Wachsmuth was responsible to Saxony's educational bureaucracy, while as a censor he reported to the Interior Ministry. It is telling that he appealed not to his superiors as a censor, but those as a professor, for mediation to address his misgivings about the work of censoring.

19 Namen-Verzeichnis der vom 1.1.1837 angestellten Herren Censoren, Archiv des deutschen Börsenvereins, H3 75/1.

20 Censorship laws exempted longer works both because they were more expensive and because they were assumed to be more challenging to less educated readers.

21 Westerkamp, Dominik, Pressefreiheit und Zensur im Sachsen des Vormärz (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1999), 28Google Scholar.

22 Verzeichniss der Censurbehörden, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3898.

23 LaVopa, “The Politics of Enlightenment,” 41.

24 Such an unusual relationship for German censorship institutions dates back at least a century. See Spalding, Paul, Seize the Book, Jail the Author: Johann Lorenz Schmidt and Censorship in Eighteenth-Century Germany (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1998), 102Google Scholar.

25 “Prospekt der Hallischen Jahrbücher, ” January 1838, in Hundt, Der Redaktionsbriefwechsel, 56.

26 Bruce Robbins has analyzed the uneasy linkage between intellectuals and the academy: on the one hand, academic training and professionalization have been crucial in asserting intellectual legitimacy before a broader public, while on the other hand, “academization” involves the potential for bureaucratization and co-optation by state or capitalist forces. He persuasively argues that the notion of intellectuals as “Luftmenschen,” or free-floating and independent forces, has fostered an unrealistic and counterproductive demand that “true” intellectuals have few instititutional ties. See Robbins, Bruce, Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (London and New York: Verso, 1993)Google Scholar.

27 Leipziger Kreisdirection to Ministerium des Innern, October 20, 1837, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 1 recto.

28 Although Wachsmuth did not write for the journal, Ruge did once consider him for an assignment. In an undelivered draft of a letter from June 4, 1840, Ruge proposed that Wachsmuth analyze the ongoing Magdeburger Bilderstreit, a theological controversy about the divinity of Christ that played out in the popular press. Ruge appealed to Wachsmuth on the basis of their shared political liberalism. Hundt, Der Redaktionsbriefwechsel, 558.

29 Bülau, Friedrich, “Characteristik über Dahlmann,” Die Hallesche Jahrbücher für deutsche Wissenschaft und Kunst, ed. Ruge, Arnold and Echtermeyer, Theodor, Issue 6, January 6, 1838 (Leipzig: Otto Wigand Verlag), 44Google Scholar.

30 Ibid.,” 44.

Ibid

31 Ibid., 46.

Ibid

32 Leo analogized the Young Hegelian “seduction of the innocent” to heathen child sacrifice before sieges and argued that they represented a dangerous force that could dissolve the bonds of morality that prevented such pagan atrocities from recurring. Leo, Heinrich, Die Hegelingen. Actenstücke und Belege zu der s.g. Denunciation der ewigen Wahrheit . . . (Halle, 1838), 4344Google Scholar.

33 Spies, “Towards a Prosopography of Young Hegelians,” 331.

34 Ruge, Arnold, Aktenstücke zur Censur, Philosophie und Publicistik aus dem Jahre 1842, Ausgabe in einem Bande, Reprint der Orig.-Ausg. 1847 (Leipzig: Zentralantiquariat der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1983), 5Google Scholar.

35 As chairman of the Gesamtministerium, Lindenau was the equivalent of a contemporary Ministerpräsident of a Bundesland. This formal power, however, masks Lindenau's relative isolation in the Jahrbücher case: he appears to be the only major supporter of the journal within the upper reaches of the Saxon government.

36 Arnold Ruge to Bernhard von Lindenau, March 5, 1839, Ruge, Aktenstücke, 7.

37 “Ew. Exzellenz kennen der Gang der Geschichte, und werden es ohne Zweifel wünschenswerth finden, daß der Streit des wirklichen und erheuchelten Glaubens lieber auf dem Gebiete der Wissenschaft als auf dem des Lebens ausgefochten, lieber mit Dinte als mit Blut und Feuer, lieber mit der Feder als mit dem Schwerte entschieden werde.” Ibid., 8.

38 Feuerbach, Ludwig, Ueber Philosophie und Christenthum, in Beziehung auf den der Hegel'schen Philosophie gemachten Vorwurf der Unchristlichkeit (Mannheim: Hoff & Heuser, 1839), 16Google Scholar.

39 Ludwig Feuerbach to Ruge, February 4, 1839, in Hundt, Der Redaktionsbriefwechsel, 308.

40 Otto Wigand to Ruge, October 14, 1839, in ibid., 417.

41 Arnold Ruge to Robert Prutz, December 1, 1839, in ibid., 460.

42 Ruge, Aktenstücke, 10.

43 Wilhelm Wachsmuth to Arnold Ruge, January 29, 1840, in Hundt, Der Redaktionsbriefwechsel, 495.

44 Collenberg-Plotnikov, Bernadette, “The Aesthetics of the Hegelian School,” in Politics, Religion, and Art: Hegelian Debates, ed. Moggach, Douglas (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2011), 215Google Scholar.

45 Arnold Ruge to Wilhelm Waschmuth, Feburary 29, 1840, in Hundt, Der Redaktionsbriefwechsel, 509.

46 Ministerium des Innern to Leipziger Censurcollegium, November 18, 1841, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 6 recto.

47 Leipziger Censurcollegium to Ministerium des Innern, November 23, 1841, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 13 recto.

48 Leipziger Censurcollegium to Ministerium des Innern, November 23, 1841, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 10 recto.

49 Arnold Ruge, “Petition an den Hohen Zweiten Kammer der Ständesversammlung,” SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732.

50 Leipziger Censurcollegium to Arnold Ruge, December 10, 1841, Ruge, Aktenstücke, 12.

51 Nostitz-Jänckendorff used precisely this phrase to communicate the policy to the Leipzig Censorship Collegium as well. Ministerium des Innern to Leipziger Censurcollegium, November 18, 1841, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 7 recto.

52 Wilhelm Wachsmuth to Arnold Ruge, December 15, 1841, Ruge, Aktenstücke, 13.

53 Leipziger Censurcollegium to Ministerium des Innern, January 22, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 22 verso.

54 Ministerium des Innern to Leipziger Censurcollegium February 3, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 36–7.

55 Ministerium des Innern to Ministerium des auswärtigen Angelegenheiten, February 3, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 38 recto.

56 Leipziger Censurcollegium to Arnold Ruge, February 12, 1842, Ruge, Aktenstücke, 15.

57 Wilhelm Wachsmuth to Otto Wigand, February 16, 1842, in ibid., 16.

58 Leipziger Kreisdirection to Ministerium des Innern, March 12, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 46–7.

59 This letter does not appear in the archival record of the censorship of the Deutsche Jahrbücher and was likely not addressed to a Ministry. The recipient is probably von Lindenau, the highest-placed official who continued to support the editors. Ruge, Aktenstücke, 22.

60 Ibid., 23.

Ibid

61 Ibid., 27.

Ibid

62 Ibid., 38.

Ibid

63 Ibid., 19.

Ibid

64 Ministerium des Innern to Gesamtministerium, December 17, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 65 recto.

65 Ministerium des Innern to Gesamtministerium, December 17, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 65.

66 Gesamtministerium to Ministerium des Innern, December 29, 1842, SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 77–78.

67 Verfassungsurkunde für das Königreich Sachsen (04.09.1831), in documentArchiv.de [Ed.], http://www.documentArchiv.de/nzjh/verfsachsen.html (accessed September 2012).

68 Arnold Ruge, “Petition an den Hohen Zweiten Kammer der Ständesversammlung,” SHStAD 10736 MdI Nr. 3732, 117 verso.

69 Ibid., 123–4.

Ibid

70 James Willard Moore, “Arnold Ruge: A Study in Democratic Caesarism” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1977), 99.

71 Karl Marx, “Bermekungen über die neuste preußische Censurinstruction von einem Rheinländer,” in Ruge, Aktenstücke, 57.

72 Ibid., 59.

Ibid

73 Ibid., 63.

Ibid

74 Ibid., 82.

Ibid

75 Ibid., 2.

Ibid

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