General Language and Literature Studies

Do you have questions regarding General and Comparative Language or Literature Studies ?

Our subject specialist, Ms.  Susanne Henschel, will gladly help you.
Tel.: +49 30 266 433152

Deputy: Ms. Ursula Jäcker
Tel.: +49 30 266 433154

Susanne Henschel is in charge of the subject areas General and Comparative Language and Literature Studies, Nordic Languages, and Other Languages. She is also the library’s research grant officer for the Grant Program of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. She offers workshops as well as advice and assistance related to her subject areas.

Consultation appointments:

For advice and assistance schedule online your personal consultation appointment!

All offers of the knowledge workshop


The subject at the SBB:

The subject area General and Comparative Language and Literature Studies is dynamically interrelated with the individual philologies. The library has traditionally given priority to collecting general theoretical, cross-philological and comparative works of language and literature studies as well as to publications of individual languages and literatures.

Nowadays academic research literature in its original language is intensively collected with the aim to cover the subject area in all its breadth. Text editions only play a very minor role, as collections with several original languages are extremely rare and can only be acquired in rare instances. Translations however do not belong to the collection profile of the Staatsbibliothek.

To the Acquisition Profile (In German)

Among the range of subject areas covered by the Staatsbibliothek, language and literature studies have always had a special place. As a field of linguistics Indo-European studies traditionally play a special role. Accordingly, emphasis is on comparative-historical language studies, as well as language typology. Since the end of the nineteenth century, special emphasis was put on the current literature relating to artificial languages. In 1936, the Esperanto collection was acquired as a special collection.

Holdings relating to the study of literature comprise publications on the history of literature as well as titles regarding general and comparative theory of literature, poetics and asthetics, translation theory and rhetoric. Text collections of different literatures, especially the genre of „belletristic/academic journals“, were collected as well.

As a result of the evacuations during World War II, the library's original historical holdings suffered numerous losses; however, the General History of Literature has been preserved for the greatest part. In the post-war period it was possible to acquire replacement copies of standard works.

Subject searching
The classification system of the Old Subject Catalogue allows a thematic online search by title in the historical holdings (publication years 1501-1955). 

In the reading rooms you find reference literature such as important journals and refrence works on open shelves (not available for loan):

  • In the reading room at the site Potsdamer Straße readers find literature relating to the Modern and Postmodern Eras;
    HB 5 A - E
    Bibliographies: Shelfmark HB 1 Ma - Me
  • In the reading room at the site Unter den Linden readers find literature relating to historical topics;  Shelfmark: HA 5 A - E
    Bibliographies: Shelfmark  HA 1 Ma - Me
  • bilingual dictionaries in all languages are shelved in the area for General Reference (HA/HB 2 A)

MLA International Bibliography
Bibliography of Linguistic Literature (BLL)
Linguistics an Literature (in GErman)
Dictionaries online

The materials are meant as a first information and can be downloaded as PDF documents.

Current offers of the knowledge workshop

Subject-related news:

More new acquisitions here.
All our holdings are searchable in StaBiKat.

Do you need books or resources which are not in our holdings?
We welcome title suggestions for the purchase of books and other resources.