German literature of the Middle Ages - an introduction

04-19  Source: Network gathering  Views:2 

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German literature of the Middle Ages - an introduction

The Middle High German literature is partially preserved in richly decorated manuscripts.

Short classification of Middle High German literature

The medieval German literature includes various genres and authors as well as works whose author is unknown. Here first some basic data on the subject:

  • What is known as the great Middle High German poetry today, grouped around a relatively small window of time, which is known as Middle High German Classic. This is the last decades of the 12th and the first decades of the 13th century.
  • The works are written in Middle High German. Thus, the language level of German is called, the one about 1050-1350 spoke in central and southern Germany.
  • The medieval German literature is divided into two major areas: the epic and the lyric. The Middle High German epic is narrative literature in verse. It is therefore more specifically to Versepik. For poetry include the famous Minnelieder in which a knight woos a higher standing lady and day songs. In this the love-servant success and the songs had be about how it has to be hidden from the lady's man and as the two of them eat in the time until the next reunion in succession.
  • Not all works of Middle High German literature, the authors are known. Some works or songs can be an author attributed with a certain probability, not with absolute certainty. One of the greatest works of medieval German literature, the Nibelungenlied, for example, has an anonymous author.

Great Authors of medieval works

What great authors now dominate the medieval German literature? Here is a selection:

  • Here would initially Wolfram von Eschenbach call. He lived around 1200. Best known for his monumental work Wolfram Parzival. He tells the story of the Arthurian knight Parzival, which is the simple-minded fools to guardians. Another work is the tungsten Willehalm who tells of William the saints. Both plants belong to the epic. Furthermore wrote Wolfram Minnelieder and Day songs.
  • Hartmann von Aue is another central figure in the Middle High German poetry. He was a contemporary of Wolfram and wrote the four narrative poems "Erec", "Iwein", "Poor Henry" and "Gregory". He also wrote some songs.
  • The third of the great epic poet of classical Middle High German literature in 1200 was Gottfried von Strassburg. His great work is of Tristan, a huge epic treatment of the Tristan and Isolde-substance.
  • The most important poet of lyrical works was Walther von der Vogelweide, you may remember from the German classes. He also lived to 1200. Walther's work consists of 90 minnesongs, 150 Sang reflection of a corpse.
  • In the field of poetry Neidhart has to be mentioned here, who lived in the first half of the 13th century. His nearly 200 songs relate to completely different topics and are mainly divided into summer songs and folk songs.

Recommended literature for beginners

If you want to deal with Middle High German literature, you should not pick up the Willehalm but choose shorter and / or more entertaining works for entry.

  • Those who prefer adventurous and fantastic, is well advised with the two Arthurian romances of Hartmann von Aue, the Erec and Iwein. There are two Arthurian romances, the act of the adventurous journeys of the two protagonists. With a bilingual edition you can enjoy the Middle High German language and fully understand yet everything.
  • A thin and serious work is "Der arme Heinrich" by the same author. Hartmann told by the dying Henry, who could go to health again by the voluntary death of another human being. The eight year old daughter of one of his vassals offers itself willingly. Henry now goes with it consult whether he can accept the argument put forward passionately offer. The story comes to the modern reader sometimes a bit absurd before, particularly in the passages in which the girl tried to convince anyone to let them die for their Lord. It is nevertheless sealed great.
  • With the novels Hartmanns it has also been of shorter narrative poetry. What you must read if you have time, is the Nibelungenlied. Since the story is relatively well known, you can follow her probably also in the Middle High German version. Easy to curl up with a bilingual edition.
  • If you want to read shorter works and neither a voltage ground still miss a relevant action, access Minne- or days songs.

so you have a wide range of works that are sometimes adventurous, sometimes serious, sometimes philosophical, sometimes cheesy in Middle High German literature. Even if you schwertun with the original language, to take a look at a bilingual edition. Read your favorite sites then again on Middle High German!

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