The Brocken visitors’ books were public albums in which walkers recorded their poetic responses to climbing the Brocken Mountain in Northern Germany. The original albums were kept in the Brocken inn and exist in published form, dating from the 1750s to the 1850s. Literary critics have never taken the Brocken visitors’ poetry seriously because of the predominantly comic rhyming verse and parodies of the work of professional poets, and because it was written by members of the public who wrote poetry recreationally. This article shows that it reveals interesting relations between literature, folklore and location, between professional and amateur writers, and it highlights the trends in the cultural meanings of the Brocken. I establish that the Brocken inn became a dynamic site of reading and writing that gave literary agency to women and amateur writers, and encouraged the performance of the memorialisation of landscape and the self.
- Travel literature
- Public albums