On February 1, 2013, Helmut Birkhan’s 75th birthday, friends, colleagues, students and admirers celebrated the anniversary with a festive colloquium. It took place in the theatre hall of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, to which Helmut Birkhan is closely associated as a long-standing member, and was entitled »Cultural Philology”, with which we wanted to honour Helmut Birkhan and his way of dealing with German, Celtic, French, English, Dutch, with oldest, old, older, middle and younger texts and artefacts. The lectures were almost as diverse as Helmut Birkhan’s interests. And yet it seemed to us that, for all its heterogeneity, it gave a not incongruous picture in its entirety – perhaps less of the thematic spectrum to which Helmut Birkhan’s work applies and was valid, but of the enlightened view of the magic of the “things”, of cultural philology, which may be typical of Helmut Birkhan’s thinking, lecture, writing and teachings. The decision to publish the files of the festa colloquium takes account of this observation. They do not form a collection of a conventional nature, certainly not a commemorative publication, and not everything written in this book redeems the demand for scientific seriousness to the last consequence. Anyone who knows Helmut Birkhan will understand this; whoever does not, may gain with this book an idea of how those who have closed it in their hearts were allowed to experience it and are still allowed to experience it.
Manfred Kern and Florian Kragl (eds.): Cultural philology. Lectures at the celebratory colloquium on the occasion of Helmut Birkhan’s 75th birthday, Vienna: Fassbaender, 2015 (Philologica Germanica 37). (VIII + 107 p.)