The Hour of the Hound

Henry Suso (ca 1295-1366), Elsbeth Stagel (ca 1300-1360) and a hound are at the center of this audio version of the Exemplar, Seuse's final work. It interweaves their storie and offers the reader background information. Adressing, on the one hand, the eye and the intellect, and, on the other hand, the ear and the imagination, it thereby opens two doors. Through the one, the reader and listener can enter into the chaotic troubles of the fourteenth century, and through the other, a timeless cosmos.

Die Stunde des Hundes (160 pages): The text of the book (Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Hildegard Elisabeth Keller) provides an introduction to Seuse's work. Keller comments on the protagonists, Hamburger on the historical locales and the illuminated manuscripts of Seuse's Exemplar. At the center stands the Codex 710(322) in the Stiftsbibliothek Einsiedeln. The 32 color pages with color plates also provide reproductions of the historical places in which Seuse lived and worked. The audio book with three CD-covers on which the various actors are portrayed, was designed by Sarah Fehr.

In 12 chapters on three audio CDs, Die Stunde des Hundes offers a structured audio version of The Exemplar (Hildegard Elisabeth Keller), relating the "Buch, das da heisst der Süsse", that is, the Vita of Seuse contained in the Exemplar in a free dramatic form. The stories and the dialogue are elements in the pictorial presentation of the imageless with which Seuse struggles as a mystical author.

The audio version permits a narrator, sometimes speaking in the first, sometimes in the third person, speak in modern German with the voice of Klaus-Henner Russius. The interpolated passages of the original text in Middle High German according to Bihlmeyer's edition were spoken by Hildegard Elisabeth Keller. The pronunciation of the Middle High German passages does not aspire to achieve historical accuracy, but rather attempts to convey an impression of the Middle High German spoken in the Alemannic region in which Seuse lived.

Christian Seiler lends his voice to an inquisitorial interrogator. His presence serves as a reminder of the historical dangers with which writing and preaching were associated. Suspicions of heresy were often raised within the ranks of the Dominican Order itself. Not only Meister Eckhart and Heinrich Seuse experienced this, it was also known to the hound, who stands in for the domini-canes (the hounds of the Lord).

The audio version is accompanied discreetly by music (voice: Sandra Suter, Markus Kluibenschädl; dulcimer: Markus Kluibenschädl), enriched with other acoustical elements.

The recording was produced in the recording studio of the University of Zurich (Direction / Mastering: Walter Weber, MELS Multimedia- & E-Learning Services; Assistance with recording: Hildegard Elisabeth Keller).

Hildegard Elisabeth Keller received the Mysticism Prize of the Theophrastus-Stiftung for 2009 for the audio book.

among the finalists for German Audio Book Prize 2009The audio book was among the finalists for German Audio Book Prize 2009
Excerpt from the Jury's statement:
An authentic acoustical and literary journey through the early fourteenth century. A succesful attempt to enliven 'dead parchment' through 'the living voice' of the spoken word. The visual appearance and the supplementary material make this audio book a publishing Gesamtkunstwerk.

With contributions by Jeffrey F. Hamburger

Spoken by Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, Klaus-Henner Russius and Christian Seiler, with music by Markus Kluibenschädl and Sandra Suter
Design: Sarah Fehr
ISBN 978-3-7281-3139-3CHF 58.00 / EUR 39.90 (D)
Zürich: vdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH Zürich 2007

Audio Samples

Track 1: To whom does the book belong? (excerpt)

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Track 2: How the Servant danced with the angels (excerpt)

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Track 5: Rusty nails (excerpt)

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Radio DRS 1 Hör-Bar, August 15, 2009: "Der Name der Rose" und "Die Stunde des Hundes". An interview with Esther Schneider.

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Deutschlandradio (Thomas Kroll, March 21, 2008)

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Radio DRS2aktuell (Bernard Senn, December 21, 2007)

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