Information on the Class of Literature and Music


Petra Plättner
Speaker of the Class of Literature and Music
Tel. 06131 577-102
Fax 06131 577-103

The Class of Literature, since 2010 Class of Literature and Music, unites leading writers, musicians, literary and music critics and mediators.

Döblin, on his return from exile as a cultural officer in the service of the French Allies, initiated the introduction of a literature class at the founding of an academy. Above all, he saw an opportunity to tie in with the Poetry Section of the Prussian Academy, which was brought into line by the National Socialists in the Third Reich after only seven years of activity.

Besides Alfred Döblin, the first important members of the class included Walter von Molo, Hermann Kasack, Hans Henny Jahnn, Hans Erich Nossack, Ernst Kreuder, Carl Zuckmayer, and Annette Kolb. Today, under the chairmanship of Ursula Krechel (Vice President of the Academy), writers, musicians, scientists and cultural mediators are among the 65 Members.

The Mainz Poetic Lectureship has been held together with the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz since 1980 and has already welcomed many renowned writers as lecturers. Among others Durs Grünbein, Navid Kermani, Ursula Krechel, Terézia Mora, Lutz Seiler, Yoko Tawada and Jan Wagner gave insights into their literary work. During lectures and seminars they discussed poetological questions with students and many people who are interested in literature.

The counterpart to the Poetics Lectureship is the Mainz Music Lectureship, which has been held since 2011 in cooperation with the Hochschule für Musik Mainz and the excellence programme BAROCK VOKAL. Here, renowned scholars and artists such as Ton Koopman, Peter Gülke and Silke Leopold engage in a close dialogue with students and the public. However, the teaching is not limited to e-music; in 2016, for example, Bob Dylan and his 'song poetry' were the subject of the lectureship.

Another regular event is the  Literatur im Landtag series (including readings by Thomas Lehr or the former Mainz city writer Ingo Schulze) as well as the Mainzer Poetikrunde. Among others, Katharina Hacker, Reinhard Jirgl and Ursula Krechel have already discussed questions such as ›the weightiness of thick novels‹ (2017) at the interface between scientific theory and the practice of literature. 

The core of the class also includes the  Mainzer Reihe, Neue Folge, which rediscovers and reissues authors who have fallen into oblivion. Thus, the collected letters of Johannes Bobrowski as an important document of German literary history ("a treasure trove of the German post-war period", FAZ of 17.8.2017) or the feuilletons of Sigismund Radecki have been reissued and thus made accessible to the public.

Another publication series are the Mainzer Bibliographien, founded in 2004, which are published at irregular intervals by the Verlag Ulrich Keicher, Warmbronn. Primarily, bibliographies of deceased members of the class are published.

The class also awards three important prizes: the Joseph Breitbach Prize, the Alfred Döblin Medal and the Robert Schumann Prize for Literature and Music.