Not all books have been unpacked yet, but the Wilhelm Salber Library, which is being built in these weeks, already shows a number of interesting departments and groupings. We take this as an opportunity to open a new series on this website: "Reports from the private library Wilhelm Salbers". In loose intervals colleagues will take one or more books and introduce them briefly. In time, this will provide an overview of this unique and valuable collection, which represents the cultural universe of its former owner.

In his contribution to the book "Haus aus Zeit" published by Daniel Salber at Bouvier 2018, Wolfram Domke states succinctly: "Morphology is a Don Quixote". (p. 38) He sees analogies between the famous novel by Miguel Cervantes and the psychological morphology of Wilhelm Salber. Just as Salber describes the processes of effect when reading the Don Quixote, Domke experienced the relationship that developed between him and Salber's psychology.

In Salber's private library there are a good dozen editions of Don Quixote. Impressive are the large-format, two volumes from 1876, illustrated by Gustave Doré, and the interesting book from 1870, for which Heinrich Heine wrote an introduction. Exciting the 1965 edition with Salvador Dali's colour illustrations.

Illustration by Gustav Doré

These are just a few, few examples. Salber was a lover of beautiful books. He spent a lot of time looking through antiquarian bookshop catalogues and searching for rare first editions in relevant shops. Sometimes he managed to lift a small treasure for a moderate price. But his collecting was complemented by an intensive acquisition of literature and art. There is hardly a work in his library that does not show the traces of his research. He also made something out of "Don Quixote" that influenced the development of his psychology. For some of his students, the high school seminar of the 1980s is unforgettable. By participating, one took the obligation to read the whole "Quichote" and write a record of the experience. Through this unique, literary psychological study, Wilhelm Salber developed sentences like these:

"'Don Quichote' is an attack on appointments of our culture, our language and our justifications. It shows us the destruction, but also the attraction of an earthly Ptolemaic worldview. On the one hand, it marks the nonsense of the 'right', on the other hand it allows us to understand reality, despite its oddities and nonsense. In all developments we are made aware of the unclosed coherence of our living conditions ... 'Don Quixote' does not simply give us hints about life, no instructions for action, no theory; the work of dealing with 'Don Quixote' qualifies 'lived and experienced' contexts of life by letting us get into whirls and thereby making the categories of reality, problems of transformation and the explosiveness of our production conditions perceptible. Reality is what comes out of it - as Don Quixote says of painting." (Quote from Wilhelm Salber: Literary Psychology. Second Edition Bonn 1988)

Page from the novel by Cervantes illustrated by Salvador Dali in 1965