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Sensationalism – Propaganda – Resistance. 500 years of leaflets: from Luther to the present day

Exhibition at the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig
9 December 2016 to 23 July 2017
Opening at 19:00 on 8 December 2016

Press release:  November 30, 2016

On the eve of the Reformation anniversary year of 2017, the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig is staging an exhibition that, in contrast to the plethora of other Luther exhibitions, presents an off-beat view of the Reformation: the Reformation as a media and social history event, its media tools and their after-effects. The "Sensationalism – Propaganda – Resistance. 500 years of leaflets: from Luther to the present day" exhibition provides an overview of the history of the leaflet.

Without the medium of the leaflet, Martin Luther's reformatory ideas would never have achieved the resonance which ultimately made him one of the most important protagonists of the modern era. The leaflet, which was made possible through the invention of moveable type printing, was the earliest mass medium which experienced its first boom through the "printing native" Martin Luther. Since the 16th century it has covered current issues and is now regarded as a catalyst for the establishment of publishing and the media.Trenchantly worded, the leaflet as a medium has never pulled its punches, and has provided much social dynamite over the centuries. The exhibition starts with the Luther year of 1517 and tells the story of the leaflet up to the present day, exploring in nine sections the social power of leaflets.

Be it early sensationalist messages about monsters and freaks, or "Leaflets on the religious controversy", "The world of flyers" in the 19th century, the leaflet caught between propaganda and resistance in the war, provocation and escalation in 1968, or flyers in the peaceful revolution of 1989: the leaflet has proved to be an agent of everyday resistance. "The techniques of rebellion" finally provides a glimpse into the technical workshops behind the leaflets.

Kindly supported by the city of Leipzig.

Sensationalism – Propaganda – Resistance. 500 years of leaflets: from Luther to the present day
Exhibition of the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig
9 December 2016 to 23 July 2017
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00, Thursday 10:00-20:00,
Holidays (except Mondays) 10:00-18:00.
Free admission.

Exhibition opening: 8 December 2016, 19:00

Welcome speech: Michael Fernau, Director of the German National Library in Leipzig

Introduction: Dr. Stephanie Jacobs, Head of the German Museum of Books and Writing
Talk: Uwe Warnke, Berlin: "Flugschrift im Flugschutt"

Guided tours:
Besides general guided tours of the exhibition and educational offerings, the German Museum of Books and Writing is offering three special tours: "Monsters - Monks - New media: Leaflets and flyers in the time of Luther", "The leaflet as a weapon of war" and "The techniques of rebellion - A technological history of the leaflet". 

Background

The book has shaped our culture and civilisation like no other medium. For centuries our knowledge about the world and its peoples has been stored in books. The task of the German Book and Writing Museum of the German National Library is to collect, exhibit and process evidence of book and media history. Founded in 1884 in Leipzig as the Deutsches Buchgewerbemuseum (German Book Trade Museum), it is the oldest museum in the world in the field of book culture, and also one of the most important with regard to the scope and quality of its stocks.

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Schriftbanner mit Deutscher Nationalbibliothek Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main