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Biography of Leopold von Andrian


The literary estate of Leopold von Andrian (1875-1951) is frequently consulted, largely because of Andrian’s connections to famous writers, especially Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The estate is, however, not merely literary but also historical-political, documenting Andrian’s diplomatic career with numerous notes and papers regarding his activities in Athens, Rio de Janeiro, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw. His extensive correspondence shows him as an intellectual active in both political networks as well as artistic circles. The aim of the project was, on the one hand, the cataloguing of his literary estate and, on the other, the preparation of a biography based on this material.

The complete archive contents, encompassing sixty-seven archive boxes, had previously only been described in a rough, handwritten list and were therefore difficult to work with. Only a small section had been ordered and catalogued. In the first stage of the project the estate was, therefore, completely and meticulously ordered, deposited in acid-free files and indexed using KALLIAS, the electronic catalogue of the German Literature Archive. This involved identifying names and works, entering records following the in-house system, and connecting names and groups in a file following established models.


In the second stage of the project, documents analysed in this manner were evaluated for the purposes of a critical biography. The aim was to develop an innovative form of biographical writing, one that focuses primarily on the literary estate, and in telling its history, also tells the story of the person and his or her work. This particular model makes it possible to stay close to the material while alos generating connections to new theories and concepts of biography.


The ‘archival biography’ on Andrian not only develops a richly textured portrait of Andrian's life, but also reflects the historical and political parameters of his time. It has been published as the fourth volume in the 'From the Archive' (ADA) series by the German Literature Archive Marbach.



Contact: Günter Riederer


Der letzte Österreicher
Leopold von Andrian und sein Nachlass im Dt. Literaturarchiv Marbach

Günther Riederer: Der Letzte Österreicher: Leo- pold von Andrian und sein Nachlass im Deutschen Literaturarchiv Marbach. Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, Aus dem Archiv, Band 4. Marbach am Neckar: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft 2011.