Elisabeth Walther-Bense


Walther-Bense - Rio - 1963

Elisabeth Walther-Bense (1922-2018) was a German semiotician, publicist, translator, publisher, and editor.

Born on August 10, 1922, in Oberweißbach, she studied philosophy, German, Romance languages and literature, physics, and mathematics at the universities of Jena, Mainz, and at the Technical University of Stuttgart. In 1950 she received her doctorate under Max Bense with the dissertation »Die Rolle der Logik von Port-Royal in der Frühgeschichte der exakten Wissenschaften« [The Role of the Logic of Port-Royal in the early history of The Exact Sciences]. She taught at the Technische Hochschule (since 1967 Universität Stuttgart) from 1956 to 1983, and also at the HfG | Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm and the Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial in Rio de Janeiro. She was the editor of the journal "augenblick" (1955-1960), co-editor of the series "rot" (1960-90) and of the international journal for semiotics and aesthetics "Semiosis" (1976-1990). From 1990 she was sole editor of "rot" and "Semiosis", as well as head of the "Forschungsgruppe Semiosis".


Since her death in January 2018, Elisabeth Walther-Bense's estate has been housed at the ZKM | Karlsruhe. It comprises about 14 linear meters of documents (in an unprocessed state) and is completed by the joint working library of Elisabeth Walther-Bense and Max Bense with about 4000 publications. The extensive collection of correspondence with artists and theoreticians forms the largest part of the estate with approximately seven linear meters. In addition, about five linear meters of photo albums with private photographs, as well as project photographs document the numerous trips, events and exhibitions together with Max Bense. Part of the photo collection are also Walther-Bense's own photographs, especially architectural photographs. The rest of the estate includes records, notes, typescripts, and manuscripts on Walther-Bense's research interests in semiotics (Charles Sanders Peirce) and poetry (Francis Ponge), as well as their publication projects (Edition rot, Semiosis, etc.).

More information about Elisabeth Walther-Bense and her archive

ZKM | Karlsruhe
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