Judith Aikin

Judith Aikin
Professor of German, Emerita

My scholarly interests center primarily in seventeenth-century ("Baroque") German literature, with emphasis on literary texts designed to be sung (opera, cantata, love songs, and devotional songs) or otherwise performed (drama and various sub-dramatic forms).  More recently, my emphasis has been on womens' history.  In addition to numerous articles on these subjects in German, British, and American journals and edited collections, I have published five books, including the survey German Baroque Drama for the Twayne World Authors Series, A Language for German Opera:  The Development of Forms and Formulas for Recitative and Aria in Seventeenth-Century German Libretti, and most recently, A Ruler's Consort in Early Modern Germany: Aemilia Juliana of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.

Currently I am in the midst of researching and writing another book, to be titled Women’s Voices: The Devotional Songs of Aemilia Juliana and Ludaemilia Elisabeth von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.  The book, which presents research on the ca. 700 song texts authored by Aemilia Juliana and over 200 song texts authored by her sister-in-law Ludaemilia Elisabeth, addresses problems women authors of the seventeenth century faced in getting recognition for the many texts they authored during an age when women were expected to remain silent or at least anonymous.  For the most part, these beautifully crafted songs were designed for private devotions and have a strong self-expressive and biographical component. Nevertheless, the songs, hundreds of which made their way into Lutheran and Pietist hymnals of the late seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, were generally not attributed to them until after their deaths.  In several cases men claimed or were given credit for writing songs that can be securely attributed to these two women.  In other instances, their names never became attached to songs that had a significant afterlife in the history of the hymnal.  The book seeks to identify and characterize their “voices” that are present in their oeuvres, and to assess the impact of their writings.

Affiliations & Links

Professional Associations

  • Modern Language Association (elected member of Executive Committee for the Division of German Literature to 1700, 1986-1990; Division Chair 1989)
  • Society for German Renaissance and Baroque Literature (Vice President 1984, President 1985; Nominating Committee, 1986-89)
  • Sixteenth Century Studies Conference