Dorlikon families, Germany, Everyday life, 17th century
This impressive study has three main sections. The author offers, first, what he titles as Erzählung, that is narrative or story. In five chapters he gives a wealth of detail about the lives of the Dorlikon families, their struggle to meet the challenges of a sometimes harsh climate, their sparse resources due to bad harvests, the resulting loss of rented farms, and the cycles of birth, procreation, and death. Their valorous strivings as well as occasional misdeeds are reconstructed with meticulous concern for exact documentation. Key documents are cited in their original seventeenth century German. What emerges is a moving picture of people experiencing population growth which, however, was checked by the limitations of available resources and a relentless set of taxes and tithes exacted by the owning classes. The author also reveals the staying power of human sexual drives and the at times almost generous tolerance of premarital entanglements of the young in contrast to the occasionally brutal punishment of adult offenders. K. Basler's narrative paints a picture of Dorlikon's people without condescension and in the spirit of the true historian: "They become alive again," he observes; "one shares their joys and pains. We honor them in that we save them from being forgotten and gratefully acknowledge their lives. Because every future builds on origins [Herkunft]" (p.203 ).
"Book Review: Dorlikon an der Grenze des Wachstums. Zur Kulturgeschichte einer Zürcher Dorfschaft im 17. Jahrhundert.,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 35:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol35/iss1/5