The Norbert Elias Archive

Since April 1994 the Norbert Elias archive has been housed at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv (DLA) in Marbach-am-Neckar, Germany. The contents are available for study by academic or literary researchers. Dr John Goodwin, University of Leicester, has written useful notes for visitors to Marbach; he intended them particularly for non-German-speaking visitors, but German speakers too may find them helpful.

Regulations and Restrictions

As in other archives of this kind, there are regulations concerning access to and utilisation of the materials. Not all documents can be seen or used. There are, for example, restrictions on consulting correspondence between Elias and persons who are still alive (permission must be sought in advance from the person in question). Strict regulations govern the publication of material from the archive (see copyrights).

Anyone working in the archive may obtain photocopies or microfilms of particular items, subject to the regulations applicable in each case. For more information, please consult the DLA itself.

The Norbert Elias Foundation and the DLA from time to time offer a Marbach Stipend to assist scholars who wish to spend some time working on the Elias papers. But, apart from that, the Foundation cannot finance expenses related to the consultation of the Elias archive.

Inventories of the Norbert Elias Archive

The most useful online catalogue of both Elias’s publications and of his manuscripts and some other documents is the HyperElias©World Catalogue created by Professors Ingo Mörth and Gerhard Fröhlich of the University of Linz. It does not, however, have detailed listings of (among other things) Elias’s correspondence.

The printed inventory of the Norbert Elias archive can be consulted at the DLA. It consists of three parts. Part I is an inventory of correspondence, manuscripts from 1984 onwards (as well as some older ones), and other documents. In part IA some subsequent additions to the archive are listed. Part II is an inventory of the library of Norbert Elias. The books in which he had made annotations, as well as some without annotations, are housed in the library of the DLA. Part III, finally, is an inventory of the majority of manuscripts dating from before 1984.

The archive is currently undergoing digitisation, and much of it may eventually be available online. But, for the moment, please note that all documents have to be consulted in the DLA itself; the online catalogue cannot be used as a mail-order catalogue for photocopies.