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German History in Documents and Images
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The Drinking Student (c. 1725)
By the middle of the eighteenth century, Germany had more universities than any other European country – not surprising, given its myriad of states. Yet many contemporary critics pilloried the institution of the university in general. They took issue with the university’s ossified structure, its obsolete scholarly methods, and – not least – the wild excesses of students. Taken from Johann Georg Puschner the Elder’s Description of Academic Life [Natürliche Abschilderung des academischen Lebens], this engraving portrays the dangers of student drinking. The concluding lines of the caption offer some words of advice to would-be drinkers: “ . . . tipplers without restraint are worse than beasts and make themselves hated in any company.” Copperplate engraving by Johann Georg Puschner the Elder (1680-1749), c. 1725.