saxl in Stankievech 2016


“Warburgian tradition.”47 If we consider the Warburg Library
in its simultaneous role as a contained space and the reflection
of an idiosyncratic mental energy, General Stumm’s aforementioned feeling of “entering an enormous brain” seems an
especially concise description. Indeed, for Saxl the librarian,
“the books remain a body of living thought as Warburg had
planned,”48 showing “the limits and contents of his scholarly
worlds.”49 Developed as a research tool to solve a particular
intellectual problem—and comparable on a number of levels
to exhibition-led inquiry—Aby War

of a library that performatively articulates and potentiates itself,
which is not yet to say exhibits, as both spatial occupation and
conceptual arrangement, where the order of things emerges
experimentally, and in changing versions, from the collection
and its unusual cataloging.50



Saxl speaks of “many tentative and personal excrescences” (“The History of
Warburg’s Library,” 331). When Warburg fell ill in 1920 with a subsequent fouryear absence, the library was continued by Saxl and Gertrud Bing, the new and
later closest assistant. Despite the many helpers, according to Saxl, Warburg always
remained the boss: “everything had the character of a private book collection, where
the master of the house had to see it in person that the bills were paid in time,
that the bookbinder chose the right material, or that neither he nor the carpenter
delivering a new shelf over-char


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