August Kopisch and Capri Island
Lecture by Dieter Richter
On Capri, the name August Kopisch is virtually a household name, quite unlike the situation in Germany. Two plaques in prominent locations recall his discovery of the Blue Grotto on August 17, 1826. It was not just a courageous act (the Grotto could only be reached by swimming, and there were many dark legends about the so-called “devil’s hole”), it was also an event that brought fame to the island located in the Gulf of Naples, at the time was relatively unknown. This lecture by Dieter Richter, an expert on Capri and the south, explores the story of this discovery, its importance for the visual language of romantic painting and literature, and its “real” consequences for the island of Capri itself, which still today lives off the myth of the “blue island,” which has become especially popular as a trope among Germans, from the Capri fishermen, Capri pants, to Capri-Sonne, a soft drink.
Dieter Richter, born in Hof, Bavaria in 1938, studied German literature, classics, and theology. He taught critical literary history from 1972 to 2004 at Universität Bremen, and is the author of many books of cultural history.