Vernacular Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: The German Tradition, 800-1300, in its European Context

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The first edition of this book appeared in German in 1985, and set a new agenda for the study of medieval literary theory. Rather than seeing vernacular writers' reflections on their art, such as are found in prologues, epilogues and interpolations in literary texts, as merely deriving from established Latin traditions, Walter Haug shows that they marked the gradual emancipation of an independent vernacular poetics that went hand in hand with changing narrative forms. While focussing primarily on medieval German writers, Haug also takes into account French literature of the same period, and the principles underlying his argument are equally relevant to medieval literature in English or any other European language. This ground-breaking study is now available in English for the first time.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" intelligent, sparkling book." Neue Z├║rcher Zeitung

" is to be hoped that this brilliant and lively book will quickly find a readership in related disciplines of study." Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift

"...the volume is suitable only for upper-division undergraduate and graduate libraries supporting coursework in German literature and the Middle Ages." L.J. Rippley, Choice

"This undoubtedly one of the most important recent contributions to the study of medieval literary theory. Moreover... it is sure to spur similarly original investigations which interrogate literary conventionality and self-conscious reflection in the context of their concrete historical functions...." Richard J. Utz, Arthuriana

"With this English edition of [Haug's] book, medieval literary studies, both here and abroad, ahve received a tremendous boost and an intellectual impetus that may well bear fruit for a long time." Ernst S. Dick, Speculum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521027991
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature Series , #29
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 444
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Translator's preface
Preface to the English edition
Introductory remarks 1
1 The background: Christian aesthetics versus classical rhetoric 7
2 The problem of the vernacular: Otfrid von Weissenburg and the beginnings of literary theory in Old High German 25
3 Literature, allegory and salvation: theoretical positions in Early Middle High German 46
4 Religious adaptation of secular forms: the Rolandslied, Brautwerbungsepen ('bridal quests'), the Alexander romance 75
5 Chretien de Troyes' prologue to Erec et Enide and the Arthurian structural model 91
6 Divine inspiration and the changing role of the poet in Chretien's Lancelot and Cliges 107
7 Hartmann von Aue's fictional programme: the prologue to Iwein 118
8 Hagiographical legend or romance? - Hartmann's prologue to Gregorius 132
9 Wolfram von Eschenbach's literary theory: the prologue to Parzival, the metaphor of the bow, and the 'self-defence' 153
10 Wolfram's Willehalm: a return to historical romance? 178
11 Ethics and aesthetics: Gottfried von Strassburg's literary theory 196
12 The truth of fiction: Thomasin von Zerklaere and integumentum theory 228
13 The Lucidarius A-prologue in the context of contemporary literary theory, and the origins of the prose romance 241
14 Magic, morals and manipulation: the emergence of the post-classical Arthurian romance 259
15 Rudolf von Ems' Der guote Gerhart: a programmatic rejection of the correlation between merit and reward 289
16 Chance, fortune and virtue: Rudolf von Ems' Alexander 300
17 Wolfram's prologue to Willehalm: a model for later hagiographical romances 318
18 The new genre of love-romance: suffering as a way to fulfilment. From Rudolf von Ems' Willehalm von Orlens to Ulrich von Etzenbach's Willehalm von Wenden 331
19 Konrad von Wurzburg: spellbinding artistry and individual moral action 346
20 Albrecht's Der jungere Titurel: magic and moral code in the inscription on the hound's leash 366
Concluding remarks 379
Bibliography 382
Index 420
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