Festivus? no no Festschriften!

I'm rooting through 129 university press websites this morning hoping to find more scholarly brethren who will see the merit of a damn-good-book-that-probably-won't-sell -4000 copies.

I click on the submission guidelines to see what they want to publish and now, twice, I've seen "we do not publish Festschriften". Given my German has deteriorated from "ist dis de zug nach Berlin, bitte", I had to look it up.

Sounds like a scholarly version of the Crapometer to me!

Miss Snark's Festschriften!

I kinda like it!


B. Dagger Lee said...

Dear Miss Snark:

I suggest "Miss Snark's Pestschriften."

Ich bin ein Bedbug!

B. Dagger Lee

The Rejected Writer said...

I work with a managing editor who translates "festschriften" as "self-loving fertilizer." This is one instance in which I prefer his definition to the OED.

Anonymous said...


Festschriften is plural.

lizzie26 said...

You mean the Crap-o-meter isn't scholarly?? And here I am, puffing out my chest when I quote to fellow writers things Miss Snark says to people who submit their query letters and first pages to the crap-o-meter. Pass the gin pail.

Elektra said...

More German: Das ist nicht mein Bier

Transtlation: It's not my problem.

Literal Translation: This is not my beer.

Nancy Beck said...

What, no aluminum pole, no feats of strength?



Miss Snark said...

I've run three Crapometers to date.

Insane, of course.
But surely plural too.

Gabriele Campbell said...

My dictionary gives 'commemorative publications'.

As a writer not only of novels with swords and intigues but also essays about Medieaval Literature (under my German name), I appreciate the existence of Festschriften, I've found more than one useful essay there. :)

Anonymous said...

Love learning new things like this. So is this where, if the festee isn't all that festworthy, they get a short schrift?

Anonymous said...

So.. it's like a roast, right? A really snobby roast.

Festschrift. I wonder when that's gonna show up in the word verification. Shall we start a pool?

pheelikhs said...

ah, yes, the festschriften. i came across some of those while doing research papers in college for english, and they were usually collections of essays published in honor of some retiring prof, about whatever kind of lit that prof had specialized in. sometimes, it was in honor of a retiring prof who was a poet, and the essays were about his (it's always a he!) poems. thank god i don't have to read that stuff anymore.

Anonymous said...

"A damn good book that probably won't sell 4000 copies." It's this sort of reality that makes me want to strangle readers. So much hype, so many fools. Aaahhhh!

Anonymous said...

a festschrif sounds more like the literary version of "This is Your Life", rather than a roast.

And unless I was *extremely* interested in the subject (chances: nigh zilch) I'd probably dismiss most of it as wanking-by-groupies.

Anonymous said...

Isn't German a wonderful language? "Festschriften" literally means "celebration writings." Sorta like the limericks I write for my kids' birthday? Maybe. I've never actually seen a Festschrift, but I can guess.

A second snippet of untranslatability (is this a word?) for your delectation:

German: "Du hast ein Vogel."

English: "You are crazy."

Literally: "You have a bird."

Guten nacht, alle.


Stacy said...

We did a festschrift - great word - for my boss on HER 25th anniversary in publishing. It was fun. I wrote a poem and everything!

Anonymous said...

What is Festiuvs? Its for the rest of us.

Happy Festivus!