Luxembourg Books in the Library of Congress
Introduction - Language - Literature - Exhibition of Books
The history of literature in Luxembourgish, the native language of the people
of Luxembourg, extends back to the early decades of the nineteenth century.
In the last decades of this century, Luxembourgish literature (whether as
poetry, drama, or fiction) has flourished as never before. In addition, there
is an unprecedented number of non-literary publications in Luxembourgish.
To celebrate this development, in 1999 the Embassy of Luxembourg presented
a comprehensive collection of books in Luxembourgish to the Library of Congress.
Luxembourg lay in the heart of Charlemagne’s empire; some of his key officials
resided there. At the division of the empire in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun,
the territory that later became Luxembourg was part of Lotharingia.
Founded in 963, Luxembourg became the home of one of the most powerful dynasties
of the Middle Ages--the House of Luxembourg. The cover of one of the books
in this display shows four counts and dukes of the House of Luxembourg from
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: Henri VII, Charles IV, Wenzel II,
and Sigismund. All were educated at the French court, and became kings of
Bohemia or Hungary and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. (See Map
by Johann Baptist Homann, 1663-1724. )
Political unrest in the 1830s led to the transfer of the western, French-speaking
areas of Luxembourg to Belgium. The remaining Luxembourgish-speaking areas,
still under Dutch control, later became the independent Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, poverty caused many Luxembourgers
to emigrate. About one-third of the population left, mostly for the United
States and Brazil. In the United States, they settled mainly along the northern
stretches of the Mississippi River, in Chicago, and north of Milwaukee. A
typical emigration story. Also, look at the Library of Congress web site: Luxembourgers.
World War II played a large role in defining Luxembourg’s present identity.
The country’s literature has dealt extensively with the war’s traumatic events.
An example of books of this kind is Nico Helminger's Patton & Co:
Triptychon, published by Editions Phi in 1992. Today, history has come
full cycle. Luxembourg has been at the center of the European integration
movement since the Belgian-Luxembourg economic union in 1921. Luxembourg
also participated in the formation of the International Steel Board and
the Benelux economic and customs union, and is a signatory of the Treaties
of Rome. Luxembourg is home to a number of European Union (EU) institutions,
among them the European Court of Justice. Robert Schuman, one of the fathers
of the EU, was born and grew up in Luxembourg and spoke its native language.
Today his childhood home is a study center devoted to European integration.