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German Language and Literature: Digital Texts

Library resources for German language and literature at Yale


 Online Mediaeval and Classical Library.  A collection of literary works from classical and medieval times. Each text is accompanied by a brief introduction explaining when it first appeared, which language it was originally written in, who wrote it, and which edition the online text was prepared from. Around 40 texts are available. Some of the site's more notable texts include: Orlando Furioso; the works of Chretien de Troyes; a number of pieces by Geoffrey Chaucer; the Song of Roland; the Nibelungenlied; works by Tasso and Ariosto; the Lay of the Cid; and a number of Icelandic sagas in Old Norse. Books & essays for further reading are also recommended, along with details of other translations available.

Albert K. Wimmer Anthology of Medieval German Literature. An online collection of texts, compiled and edited by Professor Albert K Wimmer, with introductions to and commentaries of each text. Spanning the centuries between 750 and 1500, this anthology represents a valuable contribution to the field, updating and building upon its predecesor, 'An Anthology of German Literature 800-1750' by Peter Demetz and WTH Jackson.


The 16th century

CAMENA : Lateinische Texte der Frühen Neuzeit is a website hosted by the University of Mannheim, which makes available Latin poetry by 50 major German writers from the early modern period. It forms part of a larger resource entitled MATEO (see German literature online).

The Newberry Library (Chicago) Center for Renaissance Studies

Princeton Renaissance Studies

Author-specific collections of German literature online

Bertolt Brecht A searchable online edition of Brecht's complete works, following the Große kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe.

J. W. von Goethe This database consists primarily of the Weimar Edition of Goethe's works, originally published between 1887-1919 by Hermann Böhlau.

Heinrich Heine A major digitalization project of Heine's works and letters that combines the Düsseldorfer Heine-Ausgabe and the Heine-Säkularausgabe.

Franz Kafka A searchable edition of Kafka's prose works and diaries.

Nietzsche Online Complete online access to the editions, interpretations and reference works on one of the most important philosophers. Users thus obtain access to a comprehensive database containing the research results of the last forty years. Apart from the authoritative editions of the works (KGW) and the letters (KGB), the database Nietzsche Online contains all De Gruyter publications on Nietzsche. Due to the cross-referencing to the full texts and the further interpretations, the headwords of the Nietzsche dictionary have become an even more indispensable basis for the research and understanding of Nietzsche's work.

Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsches Werke: Historisch-Kritische Ausgabe (Past Masters Database)

Friedrich Schiller This electronic edition of the Nationalausgabe of Schiller's works comprises all his writings, from his poetry, plays, translations, and minor prose works to his historical and philosophical writings, letters and conversations.

17th and 18th Centuries Digital Resources

The 19th century

Dichterhandschriften des Poetischen Realismus is a so-called cyber-index of modern German poetry, which provides a comprehensive global archival research guide to the poetry, personal papers and prose written by German poets from the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. Authors are listed in alphabetical order. Each has his or her own page, with links to different institutional collections that preserve their writings. The site is in German and published by Harold B. Lee Library of Brigham Young University, Utah.

19th century German stories (Web editions for language learning & literary study). Collection of 19th & some 18th century German stories, images, and teaching materials.

    The 20th & 21st centuries

    International Dada archive (University of Iowa). The Archive holds a comprehensive collection of textual documentation related to the Dada movement. Users may access the International Online Bibliography of Dada in order to search the Archive. On the site's Digital Dada Library, users may access scanned versions of original periodicals, books, leaflets & other ephemera related to the movement. Additional details on a number of individual Dadaists are also available: listed here are figures such as Tristan Tzara, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, and Man Ray. Where possible, links are provided to digital versions of their works held in the Archive.

    Literarisches Leben  Literary database & online resource for German language literature from Germany, Austria & Switzerland. The site gives a helpful annual historical chronicle of relevant social & cultural events in these countries from 1945 to 2000. A search engine will bring up publication & personal information on themes & authors according to relevant years. Users can also search for literary events within a particular time span. They can additionally run searches on winners of different literary prizes.

    German Literary Expressionism Online. This database provides access to the contributions of 151 journals from the early 20th century in full text. 



    General collections of German literature online

    Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker Covers the works of major authors spanning eleven centuries and includes historical, philosophical, theological, political and art history texts. Collections of essays, speeches and other non-literary material add context and background material.

    Deutsche Gedichte Online database of German poetry hosted by the Universität Freiburg. The site makes available hundreds of poems, all of which are in the public domain and users can browse them by author. Poets whose works are published on the site include: Theodor Fontane; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Heinrich Heine; Friedrich Hölderlin; Nikolaus Lenau; Christian Morgenstern; Eduard Mörike; Rainer Maria Rilke; Joachim Ringelnatz; Friedrich Rükert; Paul Scheerbart; Friedrich von Schiller; and Theodor Storm.

    Die deutsche Lyrik An unparalleled publication of German poetry online. No other single collection covers the same volume of German poetry in electronic format; the collection starts with works from the 15th century and follows the development of German poetry up to the beginning of the 20th century.

    German Emblem Book Ongoing project at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign aiming to digitize their internationally renowned collection of over 600 emblem books written from 1540-1800.

    German Literature Collections Brings together six individual German literature resources into one searchable portal: Brecht's works, Goethe's works, Kafka's works, Schiller's works, Die Deutsche Lyrik, and Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker.


    MDZ: Digital Library of the Bavarian State Library, Munich: Munich Digitization Center (MDZ) handles the digitization and online publication of the cultural heritage preserved by the Bavarian State Library and by other institutions. It provides one of the largest and fastest growing digital collections in Germany, now comprising more than 900,000 titles available online

    Projekt Gutenberg-DE Thousands of texts by various German-speaking authors, from all genres and literary periods. Only writings whose copyright has expired, i.e. whose author has been dead for more than 70 years, are represented in this collection. Texts cannot be downloaded, they are only available for online perusal.

    Sophie: A digital library of early German women's writing A growing digital library of fiction written by German women between 1740 and 1923.

    Textgrid. Extensive collection of works up to the beginning of the 20th century. Especially strong in literature. Most texts are marked up in XML and TEI.  Audio presentations of a wide range of literature in German. Users can listen to full-texts or extracts read aloud, downloadable in mp3 format. There are around 500 works by over 150 authors available. Some texts are also available to read online. Some of the authors featured include: Theodor Fontane; Franz Kafka; Theodor Storm; Goethe; Heinrich Heine; and Rainer Maria Rilke. There are also short biographies of authors.

    Zeno Searchable full-text portal for world literature by more than 700 authors from Antiquity to the 20th century. Many forgotten authors and out-of-print books.


    Period-specific collections of German literature online

    Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker This series has been in publication since 1981. It covers the works of major authors spanning 11 centuries and includes historical, philosophical, theological, political and art history texts. Collections of essays, speeches and other non-literary material add context and background material.

    Lyrikline Internet platform on which contemporary poems can be read and listened to both in their original languages and various translations. At the moment presents 690 poets, 6238 poems, 55 mother tongues and 7589 translations into 52 languages.

    Manuscripta Mediaevalia: digitalisierte Handschriften Browsable manuscripts (page images) from the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg and other German libraries.

    MATEO : Mannheimer Texte online Digital versions of Early Modern primary sources held at the University of Mannheim (site not updated since 2008).

    18th Century German Literature Online Full-text online access to first editions and first published complete editions by more than 600 German-speaking authors of the 18th century.

    Freiburger Anthologie (Lyrik der Klassik) An online anthology of German poetry written during the "Classical period" (1720-1890). Goethe, Hölderlin and Schiller are some of the names represented particularly well in this collection.