manuscript lab


Separation of under- and overtexts
(palimpsests, faded, damaged manuscripts, sketches)


Case Study: J. W. von Goethe "Faust II"


To separate writing materials, one has to virtually delete one of them. A variety of fragments of Goethe's Faust II manuscript contain conceptual texts first executed with a pencil and later overwritten with iron gall ink. Using infrared reflectography (IRR), we were able to give visibility to the first conceptual layer and to compare the concept with the completion. The analysis has shown that most of the initial concept was executed (Hahn et al. 2012).


IRR of a Faust II manuscript (GSA25/XVII, 8, 12, f. 1v, detail), left: 1000 nm, right: 1300 nm (Enlarge)