Nr. 25, Fall / Winter 2007

Dear Colleagues,

Our Society for Medieval German Studies is sponsoring five sessions at the 43nd Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo in May 2008. We again thank Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University) for organizing what promises to be an exciting and valuable program. Each of our presenters at Kalamazoo 2007 deserves high praise for having made our sessions a pleasure to attend.

SMGS also thanks Matthew Heintzelman (The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and Glenn Ehrstine (University of Iowa) for co-sponsoring our tribute to Eckehard Simon in celebration of his considerable contribution to the study of medieval drama, and perhaps more importantly, for his exemplary collegiality and humanity.

Links to important websites are available under News from Colleagues.

Table of Contents

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2008

New Books Roundtable

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2008

New Books Received for SMGS Review

SMGS Review

News from Colleagues

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2008

New Research I

Amazons in Medieval German Sources

Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Amazons in Medieval German SourcesPresider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)“The German Invention of the Amazons“

Alissandra Paschkowiak (University of Massachusetts)

“nach der mannesnamen site? Amazons and their challenge to normative masculinity“

Cordula Politis (Trinity College Dublin)

“In Praise of Amazons and Heathens: A Consideration of the Normative Role of Femininity in Wigalois.”

Karina Marie Ash (SMJ Prize Winner 2008, University of California, Los Angeles)

Sarah Westhphal-Wihl (Respondent) “Amazons in Parzival“ (Rice University)

New Research II

James Schultz (University of California at Los Angeles): Courtly Love, the love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality

Presider: Scott E. Pincikowski (Hood College)

“Literary Representation of Masculinity in the Teutonic Order”

Rasma Lazda-Cazers (University of Alabama)

“Backlash: Creative Obscenity and the History of Sexuality”

Ann Marie Rasmussen (Duke University)

“Love, System, Sex: A Tribute.”

Helmut Puff (University of Michigan)

New Research III

Literacy and Orality in the Middle Ages

Presider: Matthias Meyer (Universität Wien)

“Spuren soziolektaler Mündlichkeit im deutschen”

Max Siller (Universität Innsbruck)

“Tempus muliebre in Thirteenth-century Courtly Literature?”

Klaus Amann (Die Predigtsammlung Albrechts des Kolben (1387) als schriftliche Quelle für die gesprochene Sprache? Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der historischen Dialektologie.“(Universität Innsbruck )

“Mnemonic Images in the ‘Codices picturati’ of the Sachsenspiegel”

Henrike Manuwald (Universität zu Köln)

New Research IV

Reading Movement and Movements

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

Anatomy of the Fall: Taking a Tumble in Hartmann’s Iwein und Chrétien’s Yvain

Joseph Sullivan (University of Oklahoma)

“Wolfram’s Theology Revisited: the Impovished Reading”

James W. Marchand (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Related Sessions of Interest

We received many abstracts this year and these three were adopted into a session organized by Carol Mattord, a colleague in the English Department at Georgia State University.

The Medieval Narrative: The Body, The Senses

Presider/Organizer: Carola Mattord (Georgia State University)

“Prologue Aesthetics and the Problem of Reception in the Trojanerkrieg

Michael Hougentogler (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)

“‘nach sineme pilede getan’: Adam’s Body and the Image of God in the Vienna Genesis

Rachael Salyer (University of Massachusetts)

“The very Picture of Man. Or: Exphrasis as Space for a Heartless Hero”

Margaret Mauer (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)



ew Books Roundtable

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona at Tucson) will be presenting his recent contribution to our field:

The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process

Palgrave, 2007, ISBN 13:978-1-4039-7558-4.

SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo in 2007.

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2007

SMGS is delighted to announce The Sidney M. Johnson Award for the best abstract submitted to SMGS from a graduate student. The recipient for 2008 will be Karina Marie Ash (University of California, Los Angeles) for her submission “In Praise of Amazons and Heathens: A Consideration of the Normative role of Femininity in Wigalois.” We are looking forward to hearing her presentation in the SMGS New Research I session at Kalamazoo, 2008.

New Books Received for SMGS Review

Helmut Brall-Tuchel, Folker Reichert, Rom Jerusalem Santiago: Das Pilgertagebuch des Ritters Arnold von Harff, , 2007,

ISBN 978-3-412-20026-8..

Alois Wolf, minne-aventiure-herzenjâmer

begleitende und ergänzende Beobachtungen und Uberlegungen zur Literaturgeschichte des volkssprachlichen Mittelalters, Rombach Litterae Band 155, Rombach Verlag, 2007 IBSN 978-3-7930-9496-8.

Nigel Harris (ed.), The Light of the Soul

The Lumen anime C und Ulrich Putsch’s Das liecht der sel

Peter Lang, 2007, IBSN 978-3-03910-737-7

SMGS Reviews

Women and Medieval Epic: Gender, Genre, and the Limits of Epic Masculinity. Edited by Sara S. Poor and Jana K. Schulman. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 312 pp. $74.95 hardcover.

Although there are a few anthologies that explore the roles of women in medieval epics, it appears that this anthology is exceptional in its selection of essays from a variety of cultural traditions ranging from the chronicles of Persian Empire to the sagas of the Vikings. Considering gender and genre within this kaleidoscope of cultural representations not only removes the epics from their traditional enclave of national affiliation, but also offers the reader an opportunity to focus on various cross-cultural and/or trans-historical implications of gender ideologies. Such an approach invites the reader to look beyond the mirror of masculinity so often embodied by the epic protagonists and affirmed by numerous scholars to see the occasional nuanced and subtle reflection of femininity as well. Indeed, the focal point of the anthology centers on the dynamic between representations of masculinity and femininity that creates literary worlds and expresses communal ideals within each epic.

SMGS members may be particularly interested in the contributions by William Layher, Jana K. Schulman, Kaaren Grimstad and Ray M. Wakefield, and Kathryn Starkey. Layher’s article, “Caught between Worlds: Gendering the Maiden Warrior in Old Norse,” presents two female characters from the Old Norse Fornaldarsögur who not only are depicted as cross-dressing women behaving like male warriors, but are even grammatically designated as males through appellative use of the male pronoun during their period of masculine activity. Layher concludes that these depictions affirm that gender in Norse culture “was not coterminous with biological sex but rather always infinitely variable, and that it was based almost entirely on how a person’s deeds – not their sex – measured up on the omnibus masculine yardstick of drenskapr [manly courage]” (189). Although the significance of Layher’s article is obvious for scholars of Old Norse literature, within the context of such an anthology one can also see how Layher’s study offers another cultural image and a fresh interpretation of the maiden who temporarily excels as a knight motif found in the Frauenturnier and the Old French Roman de Silence as well as how Layher’s theory of Icelandic women measuring up to an ideal of manly courage may evoke an interesting comparison with Christian women measuring up to an ideal of manly fortitude as denoted by Jerome’s concept of a virago.

Jana K. Schulman’s article, “‘A Guest in the Hall’: Women, Feasts, and Violence in Icelandic Epic,” also looks at the depiction of women in Old Norse sagas, but shifts the focus away from violent women warriors to women who incite male warriors in the Laxdaela saga and in Njals’ saga to violence and to women who perform acts of violence without the cloak of masculine appeal in the Völsunga saga. Schulman asserts that the genre differences between the Laxdaela saga and Njals’ saga based on the historical settlements in Iceland and the Völsunga saga based on heroic-mythical material can explain the different degrees of violence enacted by the female characters since the “historicity [of Laxdaela saga and Njals’ saga] precludes women from physical acts of violence” (221). The question of women and violence in Old Norse sagas and in the Nibelungenlied is also explored by Kaaren Grimstad and Ray M. Wakefield in their article “Monstrous Mates: The Leading Ladies of the Nibelungenlied and the Völsunga Saga.” While Schulman examines the issue of violent female characters from the perspective of genre and the importance of honor for women in Icelandic culture, Grimstad and Wakefield approach the depiction of violent female characters within the context of oath-taking to show how the female characters’ reactions to the breaking of contractual oaths point toward ideological differences between Norse and Germanic societies in which the former appears to value familial loyalty and the latter appears to value spousal loyalty.

Kathryn Starkey’s article, “Performative Emotion and the Politics of Gender in the Nibelungenlied,” resettles our gaze exclusively on an epic that all SMGS members should feel at home with. Instead of comparing the depiction of women in different literary works, genres, or cultures, this essay zooms in to focus on the performativity of smiling within the codicological context of the Nibelungenlied. Starkey explains how the Nibelungen poet uses two distinct verbs to denote two different types of smiles that have significantly different connotations within the fictional world of the epic. The verb smielen can be read as a type of smirk that confirms the political prowess of the character smirking. The verb lachen, on the other hand, is used to convey a gesture of joy when a character flashes a conventional courtly smile. By spotlighting the performitivity of these two verbs and how they can be deployed to denote power within the narrative, Starkey finds a discrepancy regarding the depiction of female political power in Manuscript C: ” The redactor for Ms. C (may have) perceived Brunhild’s claim to authority as problematic […since he] downplays Brunhild’s ability to assert her authority using the same non-verbal strategies as the male characters” (263). Further inquiry shows that the redactor of the C alters the performative gestures of the female characters to such an extent that “the struggle for power between the sexes [becomes] less central to the social dynamics of the poem” (266). Although the primacy of which manuscript tradition A, B, or C is closest to the “original” Nibelungenlied, Joachim Bumke’s contention that C is the closest along with Karin Schneider’s recently revised (2005) dating of the C version to the second quarter of the thirteenth century should encourage more of us to examine the C version and perhaps revise some of our assumptions about gender dynamics in the Nibelungenlied and in the Blütezeit in general. Starkey’s contribution also raises more questions about the correspondence between the cultural agenda of the Klage and the C version and may inspire more work on the perceived incongruence between the epic and its contemporary commentary.

Least we forget the diversity of literature represented in this anthology, I would like to conclude by recommending a couple articles that may fall outside of the Germanic orientation of SMGS, but would certainly be a pleasure for all medievalists to read. Christine Chism’s article, “Winning Women in Two Middle English Alexander Poems,” convincingly shows how women are involved “in the production and consumption of epic representation” and even how “the social work of the epic is done through women and for them as well” (36). William Burgwinkle’s article, “Ethical Acts and Annihilation: Feminine Heroics in Girard de Roussillon,” frames the representation of Berthe as a type of secular sanctity that problematizes heroic masculinity in Occitan chanson de geste Girart de Roussillon. Both articles and many others beyond the scope of this review glisten in this kaleidoscope of gems that both Sara S. Poor and Jana K. Schulman should be commended for selecting and editing from the panels they organized at Kalamazoo in 2002.

Karina Marie Ash (University of California, Los Angeles)

SMGS News from Colleagues

Karina Marie Ash (University of California, Los Angeles) has received a DAAD scholarship and to transcribe an early 15th-century Marienleben at the city archives in Konstanz.

Barbara Becker-Cantarino (Ohio State University) has announced three sessions arranged by the Division German Literature to 1700 for the MLA, December 28-30, 2007, in Chicago. For additional information:

(Ohio State University) has announced three sessions arranged by the for the,in ChicagoFor additional information:Thursday, 28 December

Session 217. Medieval German Literature, 1:145 – 3:00 p.m., Washington B, Loews

Presiding: Sara Suzanne Poor (Princeton University)

(1) “The Romance of Narcissus in Heinrich von Morungen”

Seth Lerer (Stanford University)

(2) “A Reconsideration of Das Mädchen: The Reception of Bridal Mysticism in Thirteenth-Century German Literature”

Karina Marie Ash (University of California, Los Angeles)

(3) “Gender and Salvation in Ofrid’s Evangelienbuch

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

Friday, 29 December

Session 394. Performance and Ritual, 10:15-11:30 a.m., Jefferson, Loews

Presiding: Rosmarie T. Morewedge (State University of New York, Binghamton)

(1)“Laughter as the Ultimate Epistemological Vehicle in the Hands of Till Eulenspiegel”

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona, Tucson)

(2) “A Marriage of Protestant Union: Creating Saxon Identity with the Danish-Saxon Wedding of 1548”

Mara R. Wade (University of Illinois, Urbana)

Friday, 29 December

Session 625. Migration, Asylum, Exile, 9:00-10:15 p.m., Anthony, Loews

Presiding: Barbara Becker-Cantarino (Ohio State University, Columbus)

(1) “Johann Schiltberger’s Account of His Life in the Ottoman and Mongol Empires: Questions of Genre and Ideology”

(2) “Transatlantic Visions: Moravian Migration from Herrnhut to Bethlehem”

Josef K. Glowa (Moravian College)

(3) “From Exile to Insanity: The Works of Daniel Klesch”

Jonathan Clark (Concordia College, Moorhead)

Helmut Brall-Tuchel (Lehrstuhl für Ältere deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf) and Folker Reichert (Universität Stuttgart) have a new contribution to our field: Rom Jerusamem Santiago: Das Pilgertagebuch des Ritters Arnold von Harff (1496-1498), Böhlau Verlag, 2007. ISBN 978-3-412-20026-8. There is also an accompanying exhibition and lecture series entitled: “Arnold von Harff: Ritter-Pilger-Dichter: Die grossen Pilgerreisen nach Rom, Jerusalem und Santiago de Compostellaat Villa Erckens in Grevenbroich (21.10 – 21.01.08).

(Lehrstuhl für Ältere deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf) and (Universität Stuttgart) have a new contribution to our field: , Böhlau Verlag, 2007. ISBN 978-3-412-20026-8. There is also an accompanying exhibition and lecture series entitled: “Arnold von Harff: Ritter-Pilger-Dichter: Die grossen Pilgerreisen nach Rom, Jerusalem und Santiago de Compostellaat Villa Erckens in Grevenbroich (21.10 – 21.01.08).For further information contact:

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona) has two books appearing this year. The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process, Palgrave Maximillan, 2007. ISBN: 13-978-1-4039-7558-4; and The Power of a Woman’s Voice in Medieval and Early Modern Literatures, De Gruyter 2007. ISBN: 978-3-11-019941-3.

(University of Arizona) has two books appearing this year. , Palgrave Maximillan, 2007. ISBN: 13-978-1-4039-7558-4; and , De Gruyter 2007. ISBN:

Christoph Flüeler (Abbey Library of St. Gall, Switzerland online) has organized access to the CESG online: with more than 100 complete manuscripts and regular updates.

Karl Heinz (Institute for the Research on Ecclesiastical Sources IEEkQ) has expanded the website for the Virtual Archive of Historical Documents in Central Europe. The website provides unlimited access to numerous original historical sources dating from the Early Middle Ages up to the present time The MOM archive offers valuable research opportunities to all interested SMGS colleagues.

You may contact Karl Heinz at for additional information. SMGS wishes to thank him for continuing this invaluable work.

Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania) has two contributions that SMGS colleagues will find of interest:

Sibylle Jefferis (ed.) The Nibelungenlied: Genesis, Interpretation, Reception (Kalamazoo Papers 1997-2005). Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik 735. Göppingen: Kümmerle Verlag, 2006; and Ein spätmittelalterliches Katharinenspiel aus dem Cod. Ger. 4 der University of Pennsylvania: Text und Studien zu seiner legendengeschichtlichen Einordnung. Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik 430, Kümmerle Verlag, 2007.

Max Siller (Universität Innsbrück) presented a well-received paper on his most recent Nibelunglied-research at a SMGS session in 2007. SMGS is again delighted that he will be presenting for us again at Kalamazoo 2008.

The SMGS News & Reviews is edited by Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University).

We wish to thank our technical expert, Ben Ogden, for his expertise in providing the online version with both readability and elegance. We also wish to thank the Division of Language & Literature at Truman State University for its support of this publication.

The SMGS readership continues to grow steadily as is the interest in receiving the SMGS News & Reviews online. Should you wish to contribute to the section on SMGS News from Colleagues or if you know of a colleague who would be interested in membership (there are no dues), you may contact me at or fax (660-785-7486), or write to the following address: Ernst Ralf Hintz, German and Medieval Studies, Truman State University, Department of Classical & Modern Languages, McClain Hall 310, Kirksville, MO 63501-4221 (U.S.A.).

The next issue of the SMGS News & Reviews appears in April, 2008.

On behalf of Stephen Mark Carey and Ernst Ralf Hintz,

All good wishes from SMGS for the Holidays and the New Year 2008!