background image
broadest sense or with individual emblems.This question, in turn, demands a clear answer to the
question of what is an emblem.
While Henkel and Schöne's encyclopedia deals primarily with individual emblems, it also treats
complete emblem books (see the "Beschreibung der benutzten Emblembücher" [Description of
Used Emblembooks]).
14
The editors and their coworkers allowed themselves to be led by an ide-
alized notion of the emblem and made their selections accordingly. For example, while all the
emblems from the collection of Joachim Camerarius are analyzed,
15
a selection of 28 samples
from Holtzwart's Emblematum Tyrocinia seems to have sufficed.
16
In contrast to Henkel and Schöne
the Munich Emblem Database prioritizes the emblem books themselves. In spite of the redun-
dancies this produces, emblems from texts such as Holtzwart's Emblematum Tyrocinia as well as
Reusner's Aureolorum Emblematum liber singularis are taken in their entirety,
17
without differenti-
ating between apparently borderline and ideal emblem types. The emblems in the Munich
emblem database are not required to correspond to a specific criterion, rather their inclusion is
legitimized by their authors and users as belonging to the genre "emblem."Whatever they con-
sidered to be an emblem, Sinnbild, or Symbolum is represented in the database. In extreme cases,
for example, this could include illustrations which bear no mottos, but are nonetheless under-
stood as emblems by their authors.
18
The Munich Emblem Database also ignores the distinction between emblem and imprese. On
the one hand, the borders between the two are unclear, as Camerarius' borrowing from the Ital-
ian imprese demonstrates,
19
and, on the other, it appears that no strict consciousness of generic dif-
ference between the two developed in the sixteenth century, in spite of the long-lived theoretical
discussion on the subject in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.Aresi's Imprese sacre are, thus,
functionally almost indistinguishable from Dilherr's Sinnbilder.
20
Other problems similar to those encountered in the definitions of "emblem book" and "emblem"
can also arise. For example, the question must be posed according to what criteria the corpus of
emblem books for a given database should be selected, in the event that the ideal book conser-
vationist solution of digitizing a library's entire collection is impossible.A natural solution would
be a national-philological approach, whereby Spanish projects concern themselves with Spanish
emblem books (which is, in fact, the case), and North American and British researchers would
find their ideal field of research in the English emblem books. Even this solution does not elim-
inate the possibility of overlaps and conflicts, as John Landwehr makes clear by including both
the Latin-German Alciato edition (Paris 1542) and the multi-lingual emblem book of Georgette
de Montenay in his romance-language catalog as well as in the index of German emblem books.
21
It is also highly questionable whether such an approach can do justice to the international char-
acter of Early Modern learned culture.A thematic approach, such as currently in progress by the
EPU (Emblem Project Utrecht) which will digitize only love emblems, also seems thoroughly
reasonable, especially since the Dutch emblem authors excelled in this field of seventeenth cen-
tury emblematics. However, from a book conservator's perspective this approach may be too lim-
iting. (And it must be noted here that the Munich project, which was funded under the auspices
of the DFG's Retrospective Digitization Program, is obliged to take the conservator's perspective
into account). From the perspective of international emblem research, however, the thematic
approach is only tenable if the remaining areas of emblematica are handled by other projects, as
is fortunately the case at the moment.
Those of us involved in the Munich project have developed an alternate route, feeling our-
selves bound to the principle of the emblem congress "Polyvalence and Multifunctionality of the
Emblem," which we hosted in 1999.The corpus of emblem books to be digitized must make the
polyvalence and multifunctionality of emblematica visible, while simultaneously allowing insight
into previously unknown or little regarded emblem books.The project should then also address
14
See footnote 4, Henkel/Schöne
(1996), XXXIII.
15
See footnote 4, Henkel/Schöne
(1996), XXXVIII-XL; and Landwehr
(1972) no. 162-176.
16
See footnote 4, Henkel/Schöne
(1996), XLV; and Landwehr (1972)
no. 355.
17
See footnote 4, Henkel/Schöne
(1996), XLIXf.; and Landwehr
(1972) no. 497.
18
See Erasmus Francisci, Das
unfehlbare Weh der Ewigkeit für die
Verächter der Gnaden-Zeit (Nürnberg:
Endter, 1682); also see footnote 5,
Peil (1978): 65-66.
19
See Mason Tung,"Impresa or
Emblem Book? A Note on the Con-
fusion over Camerarius's Symbola et
emblemata," Emblematica 10 (1996):
423-435.
20
See footnote 13, Landwehr (1976)
no. 119-122, and 124-126.
21
See footnote 4, Landwehr (1972)
nos. 27 (Alciato) and 445 (de Monte-
nay); and see footnote 13, Landwehr
(1976) nos. 25 (Alciato) and 532 (de
Montenay).
47
DC_Emblemsbook_180204 19.02.2004 11:25 Uhr Seite 47