Bridal-Quest Epics in Medieval Germany

Bridal-Quest Epics in Medieval Germany: A Revisionary Approach

Sarah Bowden
Volume: 85
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 194
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  • Book Info
    Bridal-Quest Epics in Medieval Germany
    Book Description:

    König Rother, Salman und Morolf, the Münchner Oswald and Grauer Rock (otherwise known as Orendel) have had a troubled position in the literary history of medieval Germany. Forced into a normative generic framework as either 'Minstrel Epic' (Spielmannsepik) or 'Bridal-quest Epic' (Brautwerbungsepik), these texts have been viewed conventionally according to an essentially teleological classification or a schematic ideal. Bowden challenges the premises of such a view with a detailed history of the textual scholarship, and revaluates these so called 'Bridal quests' on their own terms, offering detailed and suggestive readings of each work without the distortions or limitations inherent in the traditional interpretative model.

    eISBN: 978-1-78188-055-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    S. B.
  4. INTRODUCTION: The Problems of Spielmannsepik and Brautwerbungsepik
    (pp. 1-34)

    The aim of this study is to do away with, once and for all, the genre labels ofSpielmannsepikandBrautwerbungsepik, which have been regularly applied since the late nineteenth century to designate the following Middle High German narratives:König Rother,Herzog Ernst, theMünchner Oswald,Orendel(now more commonly known asGrauer Rock), andSalman und Morolf.¹ The intention is not to suggest another genre label for the texts, but rather to challenge the notion of their belonging together and to posit a more flexible framework for their interpretation.

    The characteristics commonly attributed toSpielmannsepikwere a rough, burlesque...

  5. CHAPTER 1 König Rother: Rother and Dietrich
    (pp. 35-69)

    König Rotheris the work that has suffered least from its consideration within the genres ofSpielmannsepikandBrautwerbungsepik. First, because it can certainly be dated to the twelfth century, thanks to its transmission;¹ second, because the narrative quite clearly consists in the story of a king, Rother, setting out on a wooing expedition; third, because it is thought to have literary value (or at least an important place in literary history), which means it is read for itself more frequently thanSalman und Morolf, theMünchner Oswald, orGrauer Rock. Nonetheless, there is a trend in scholarship onKönig...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Salman und Morolf: Salme and Morolf
    (pp. 70-101)

    In the mid-nineteenth century August Koberstein admitted in hisGrundriβ der Geschichte der deutschen National-Litteraturthat he was at a loss to know what to do withSalman und Morolf:

    Endlich ist hier noch des seinem Inhalte nach mit keinem der übrigen Sagenkreise zusammenhängenden strophischen Gedichts von Salman und Morolt zu gedenken, das von einem Volksdichter oder Fahrenden herrührt und diesen Ursprung weniger als irgend ein anderes Werk des zwölften Jahrhunderts in seinem Inhalt, seiner Behandlung und seiner Form verleugnet.¹

    As the genre ofSpielmannsepiksubsequently developed as a literary historical category, the sense of confusion aboutSalman und Morolf...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Münchner Oswald: Saint and King
    (pp. 102-136)

    TheMünchner Oswaldis particularly difficult to categorize. It tells the story of a historically attested saint, which places it firmly within the scope of classification as a hagiographicalvita, and also negates the conventional result of a bridal quest by ending with a chaste marriage. On the other hand, it could — along withKönig Rother— be considered as one of the purest representations of the so-called bridal-quest schema, fitting the prototype almost exactly. All the ‘necessary’ elements are present: the advice scene; the messenger (with preternatural powers); objection to the marriage; cunning; a chase. Moreover, the characteristics...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Grauer Rock: Orendel and the Grey Robe
    (pp. 137-162)

    The seamless robe — ortunica inconsutilis— is the robe or coat that Christ is said to have worn to his crucifixion.¹ Most commonly considered by the church fathers to be a symbol of the unity of the Christian church,² it is traditionally thought to have been brought to Trier by St Helena, mother of Constantine and supposed founder of Trier cathedral, or by St Agritius, the first attested Bishop of Trier, on her behalf. Connections to Trier and to Helena began rather late, however; early historians made claims for a completely different resting place for the robe. According...

    (pp. 163-166)

    In the introduction to this study, an examination of some permissive theories of genre demonstrated that they commonly have at their core the idea of some kind of constant that is historically recognizable and definable. Both Jauss and Grubmüller argue that a medieval text can participate in more than one genre, and that genres change through time. Jauss suggests, however, that medieval genres have a synchronically recognizable ‘dominant’, whereas Grubmüller argues that genres can only be recognized or described historically in the context of a process of change, thus preferring to refer to generically related groups of texts as ‘Werkreihen’....

    (pp. 167-180)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 181-186)