Medieval Listening and Reading: The Primary Reception of German Literature, 800-1300

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This study brings recent scholarly debates on oral cultures and literate societies to bear on the earliest recorded literature in German (800-1300). It considers the criteria for assessing what works were destined for listeners, what examples anticipated readers, and how for both modes of reception could apply to one work, exploring the possible interplay between them. The opening chapters review previous scholarship and the introduction of writing into preliterate Germany. The core of the book presents lexical and non-lexical evidence for the different modes of reception, taken from the whole spectrum of genres, from dance songs to liturgy, from drama and heroic literature to the court narrative and lyric poetry. The social contexts of reception and the physical process of reading books are also considered. Two concluding chapters explore the literary and historical implications of the slow interpenetration of orality and literacy. There is a comprehensive bibliographical index of primary sources.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is important for what it reveals about literature in German from 800 to 1300; it is of value, too, for the techniques of analysis that it employs. Even during my first reading, I was thinking how some of Green's methods could be modified to fit Old and Middle English literature. I am not the only reader who will be so animated." Modern Philology

"Long accustomed to providing seminal analyses on medieval German literature, Green has again enriched the discipline with the present masterful study." F. G. Gentry, Choice

"Green's book will be useful to scholars, college instructors, and graduate students not conversant in modern German who seek an informed discussion of questions and sources central to orality and literacy in the German Middle Ages." Speculum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521020886
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Pages: 500
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
1 Orality and writing 3
2 The historical background 20
3 Criteria for reception by hearing 61
4 Survey of reception by hearing 95
5 Criteria for reception by reading 113
6 Survey of reception by reading 150
7 Criteria for the intermediate mode of reception 169
8 Survey of the intermediate mode of reception 203
9 Literacy, history and fiction 237
10 Recital and reading in their historical context 270
Appendix. Middle High German 'lesen' = 'to narrate, recount, tell' 316
Notes 324
Bibliographical index 427
Index of names 477
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