As a research institution, the Theodor Fontane Archive carries out projects in literary, media and cultural studies, researches questions in the archival sciences and in the practice of archival mediation and compiles editions.

In the Fontane Blätter and the monograph series Fontaneana—edited together with the Theodor Fontane Society for more than half a century—the archive has provided a forum for Fontane scholarship. The organization of symposiums, congresses, workshops, and lectures support the archives aspirations to be a central venue and important forum for discussions of national and international Fontane scholarship. Furthermore, the archive compiles editions of Fontane’s works, manuscripts and letters.

Since 2017, the archive has expedited its research into the digital transformation of literary archives. In cooperation with the Network for Digital Humanities at the University of Potsdam a research focus on Digital Literary Archives was established, which has itself differentiated into several research fields.

Along with the research projects into its own private collections—for instance the current project on the collection of Fontane’s reference library —the archive also continuously compiles research publications and editions.


Current publication projects to Fontane are dedicated, from a literary sociological perspective, to: Fontane’s role in the Berlin branch of the Schillerstiftung, they reflect and analyze Fontane’s correspondence, or offer an overview of Fontanes work and impact in the form of a special issue of Text+Kritik.

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Edition Plans

An ongoing edition plan of the archive is dedicated to the literary critic Theodor Fontane, to whom a volume in the context of the »Großen Brandenburger Ausgabe« is being prepared. An edition of Fontane’s letters, recently prepared in the form of two conventions, is in the works.

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Project »Reference Library«

The 155 volumes preserved in Fontane’s reference library are entirely indexed and digitalized. On this basis an interactive visualization, in cooperation with the UCLab at the FH Potsdam under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk, opens up novel perspectives into this author library.

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Reasearch focus ›Digital Literary Archive‹

Archival Algorithm

In this area we experiment with the new possibilities of the algorithmic investigation of archival data.

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The TFA.lab is a humanities laboratory in which the archive’s development projects in the field of the digital humanities are merged with an open organizational form.

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Fontane: A Distant Reading

In this area we perform digital analyses of Theodor Fontanes texts within a historical context.

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