Nr. 26, Spring 2008

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted that The Society for Medieval German Studies is sponsoring five sessions at the Forty Third Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. We wish to thank our SMGS Organizer, Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University), who has put together another exciting program for us. We are also pleased that the third recipient of the Sidney M. Johnson Award, Karina Marie Ash (University of California–Los Angeles) will be presenting at one of our SMGS sessions. At the New Books Round Table this year, SMGS features the recent book by Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona). To all our colleagues and friends we wish a pleasant spring and a relaxing and productive summer.

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

Session I (201)

Valley 1 109

Friday, 9 May, 10:00 a.m.

Amazons in Medieval German Sources

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

201) Valley 1 109Friday, 9 May, 10:00 a.m.Amazons in Medieval German SourcesOrganizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)“The German Invention of the Amazons”

Alissandra Paschkowiak (University of Massachusetts–Amherst)

“Nach der Mannesnamen Site? Amazons and Their Challenge to Normative Masculinity in Medieval German Literature”

Cordula Politis (Trinty College, University of Dublin)

“In Praise of Amazons and Heathens: A Consideration of the Normative Role of Femininity in Wirnt von Gravenberg’s Wigalois” (SMJ Winner)

Karina Marie Ash (University of California–Los Angeles)

“Amazons in Parzival”

Sarah Westphal-Wihl (Rice University)

Session II (394)

Bernhard 157

Saturday, 10 May, 10:00 a.m.

New Research in Medieval German Studies II: James Schultz: Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Scott E. Pincikowski (Hood College)

(394)Bernhard 157Saturday, 10 May, 10:00 a.m.New Research in Medieval German Studies II: James Schultz: Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)Presider: Scott E. Pincikowski (Hood College)“Literary Representation of Masculinity in the Teutonic Order’

Rasma Lazda-Cazers (University of Alabama)

“Love, System, Sex: A Tribute”

Helmut Puff (University of Michigan–Ann Arbor)

“Backlash: Creative Obscenity and the History of Sexuality”

Ann Marie Rasmussen (Duke University)

Respondent: James Schultz (University of California–Los Angeles)

Session III (450)

Bernhard 157

Saturday, 10 May, 1:30 p.m.

Literacy and Orality in the Middle Ages

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Matthias Meyer (Universität Wien)

“Mnemonic Images in the Codices Picturati of the Sachsenspiegel

Henrike Manuwald (Universität zu Köln)

“Die Predigtsammlung Albrechts des Kolben (1387) als schriftliche Quelle für die gesprochene Sprache? Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der historischen Dialektologie”

Klaus Amann (Universität Innsbruck)

“Spuren soziolektaler Mündlichkeit im deutschen Drama des Mittelalters”

Max Siller (Universität Innsbruck)

Session IV (503)

Bernhard 157

Saturday, 10 May, 3:30 p.m.

Reading Movement and Movements

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

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

Joseph M. Sullivan (University of Oklahoma)

“War and Peace in the Sermons by Berthold von Regensburg”

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona)

“Wolfram’s Theology Revisited: The Improverished Reading “

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

Recent Research in Medieval German Drama: Honoring Eckehard Simon

(103) Valley II 205

Thursday, 8 May, 3:30 p.m.

Sponsor: Hill Museum & Manuscript (HMML) and the Society for Medieval German Studies

Organizer: Matthew Z. Heintzelman, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

(103) Valley II 205Thursday, 8 May, 3:30 p.m.Sponsor: Hill Museum & Manuscript (HMML) and the Society for Medieval German StudiesOrganizer: Matthew Z. Heintzelman, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)


Related Sessions of Interest

Fear in the Holy Roman Empire

(288) Bernhard 157

Friday May 9, 1:30 p.m.

Organizer: James R. Palmitessa (Western Michigan University)

Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

(288) Bernhard 157Friday May 9, 1:30 p.m.Organizer: James R. Palmitessa (Western Michigan University)Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)The Medieval Narrative: The Body, the Senses

(600) Bernhard 212

Sunday May 11, 10:30 a.m.

Organizer: Carola Mattord (Georgia State University)

Writing and Relationship in the Lives of Medieval Religious Women II: Women’s Relationship with Each Other

(434) Schneider 1140

Saturday May 10, 1:30 p.m

Organizer: Laura M. Grimes, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies

Presider: Sara S. Poor (Princeton University)

Writing and Relationship in the Lives of Medieval Religious Women III: Women’s Relationship with Each Other

(485) Schneider 1140

Saturday May 10, 3:30 p.m.

Organizer: Laura M. Grimes, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies

Presider: Ann W. Astell (University of Notre Dame)

War and Peace in the Middle Ages I

(54) Valley II 205

Thursday May 8, 1:30 p.m.

Organizer: Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona)

Presider: Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona)

War and Peace in the Middle Ages II

(120) Fetzer 1055

Thursday May 8, 3:30 p.m.







ew Books Roundtable

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

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

The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process, Pelgrave MacMillan, 2007.

ISBN: 13-978-1-4039-7558-4.

SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo, Friday evening, 9 May, Bernhard 157, 8:00 p.m.

A brief business meeting will follow the Roundtables.

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2008

SMGS is delighted to announce the second 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 SMGS Session I at Kalamazoo, 2008.

The SMGS Forum

SMGS invites you to inform our medievalist community of your forthcoming, new and recent publications. Email SMGS with the details of publication and we will notify the community for you.

The SMGS Yearbook

The Society for Medieval German Studies is pleased to offer members the opportunity to publish their presented papers from SMGS sessions at Kalamazoo. The SMGS Yearbook will begin with 2008 sessions. The purchase price will be $25.00 to cover printing and distribution. A portion of the price will go to fund the Sidney M. Johnson Prize.

New Books Received for SMGS Review

Claudia Brinker-von der Heide, Die literarische Welt des Mittelalters

Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007.

ISBN: 978-3-534-18758-4.

, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007.ISBN: 978-3-534-18758-4.Alois Wolf, minne – aventiure – herzenjâmer

Freiburg: Rombach Verlag, 2007.

ISBN: 978-3-7930-9496-8.

SMGS welcomes members’ books for peer review.

SMGS Reviews

Ritter Löwhardus Edited with an afterword by Ernst S. Dick. Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag, 2003. 212 pp. $41.00 softcover.

This edition is the eighth in Hans-Gert Roloff’s series, Bibliothek Seltener Texte in Studienausgaben. Professor Emeritus of the University of Kansas, Ernst S. Dick provides an excellent balance between philological rigor and readability of a text that has not been available since the end of the seventeenth century. A thorough introduction to the work, the current research, and critical expansion of that research comprises one third of the text in the form Dick’s afterword. The concluding essay alone would make this text a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the Nibelungenstoff, publishing history, and the reception of medieval tropes in the early modern period. However, the story of Ritter Löwhardus, much more than a mere scholarly curiosity, stands on its own literary merits.

The format and structure of the edition are superbly conceived and executed. Dick avoids any normalization or modernization of the text in as far as possible. The edition includes a reproduction of the original title page, a full explanation of the editing methodology with an index of alterations and a bibliography. Every single alteration in the text is marked in cursive. The text reproduces the orthography according the manuscript, with only some exceptions. The “s” variations, for example, are simplified, some proper names are normalized to avoid confusion, and all abbreviations are written out. The recto and verso numbers of the manuscript leafs are marked in the text, which also means that this edition serves as a guide through the manuscript itself.

Ritter Löwhardus tells the story of Siegfried’s son and is a sequel to Die wunderschöne Historie von dem gehörnten Siegfried. The text, referenced in the oldest existing print of Gehörntem Siegfried from Braunschweig in 1726, was first rediscovered in 1965 by Harold Jantz. The Special Collections Library of Duke University houses the manuscript today. One finds a clue for the terminus post quem of Ritter Löwhardus in the conclusion, “Diese History welche auf sechß Bigen/ und wol werth zu lesen ist zu Hamburg Anno 57. gedrucket/ da hin ich den liebhabenden Leser wil gewisen haben” (123). The author of Ritter Löwhardus, therefore, draws from a lost printing of Gehörntem Siegfried from 1657, which among other factors, lead both Jantz and Dick to date Ritter Löwhardus to the 1660s. The publisher, mentioned on the title page, Martha Hertz in Erfurt, actively produced Volksbücher in the 1660s. Since her function in this role was taken up by Georg Hertz after 1664, it is reasonable to believe the book was published between 1657 and 1664.

The author of the text still remains unknown. Dick provides a number of very fruitful leads as to identifying the author, but even his own exhaustive research produced no definite conclusions. Nonetheless, as Dick demonstrates, the notion that the author was writing in, or, at least, has some deep and long personal relationship to, Pomerania is beyond doubt. Dick recounts the search for the author in the libraries and archives of Stralsund and Greifswald which yielded several possible authors, but found no irrefutable evidence to make a clear identification. Given the structure of the text, Dick does not rule out the possibility of multiple authors.

Dick, who had already begun publishing research on Ritter Löwhardus in the 1980s, summarizes the state of research and provides some analysis of the text in his afterword. The reader is treated to a commentary on the partite structure of the text and the host of intertexts and motifs, historical and literary, early modern and medieval, which form the basis of the story. The frame narrative, a Brautwerbung interrupted by shipwrecks, one of which is depicted the woodcut on the title page, features one of the most interesting brides in the entire genre, Siciliana. Echoing the standard medieval trope of armored knights failing to recognize close friends and relatives on the battlefield, the novel features an episode in which Siciliana and Löwhardus unwittingly cross swords and nearly kill each other (96-98). Siciliana and Löwhardus are saved by the hero’s faithful lion, only to be sentenced to burn at the stake by the King of Babylon for refusing to pay homage to a golden image. They are, however, again saved by the lion. The Iwein-motif, as Dick points out, more likely stems from other texts the author mentions (Herpin and Kaiser Octavian). The interweaving of medieval motifs, the issue of early modern Orientalism and reception of the Near East, and a very interesting spin on the Brautwerbung certainly make this text far more than just a curiosity for those interested in the Nibelungenstoff. Of course, Ritter Löwhardus is Siegfried’s son (Gunther) and the unavoidable commentary on the Nibelungenstoff remains a main attraction of the text. Alone the fact that the author changes all of the names except Siegfried’s (Kriemhild becomes Florigunda) deserves attention. As Dick puts it, “Nur Siegfried bleibt nach wie vor Siegfried” (152). Ritter Löwhardus is three times longer than Gehörntem Siegfried and the marriage of the world of the Nibelungs to the crusading epic provide countless insights into Early Modern medievalisms and the reception of the Nibelungenstoff.

The author’s stated goal in producing this editon, “Mit der hier vorgelegten Edition soll das neuartige und rezeptionsgeschichtlich auschlußreiche Werk erstmalig einem breiteren Forschungs- und Leserkreis zugänglich gemacht werden” (134), also includes an invitation for further research. Dick has certainly met this goal and his afterword provides a wealth of stimulus for continued scholarly engagement with the text. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, the quality of the edition, and critical commentary. I whole heartedly recommend this work for both scholarly edification and for the pleasure of a good tale.

Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process, Albrecht Classen. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 222 pp. $80.00 hardcover.

The author is to be commended for addressing an ever immediate issue for medievalists, the persistence of myths that distort and falsify the contemporary perception of the Middle Ages. Classen does so by examining the „myth-making process“ from the early fifteenth century onward as exemplified by one of its most negative manifestations–the chastity belt. Indeed, his book is as much a study of process rather than mythologized objects and beliefs in themselves, and therein lies the scholarly significance for medieval studies and us as medievalists.

In deconstructing the myth-making process, the author applies a sound methodology; he examines the accretion of “authoritative” sources over generations and determines how these sources acquired legitimacy to become an historical truism and unquestioned anecdotal wisdom. In doing so, Classen deals with several illustrative constructs. He introduces his “case study“ of the chastity belt, by first exemplifying the formation of the hermeneutic circle through a consideration of the Flat-Earth theory—a belief remarkably at odds with the scientific communities of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. An important by-product of this book is the epistemological rehabilitation of medieval and early-modern societies by demonstrating how popular misconceptions arise and become validated over time. Not surprisingly, many myths may enjoy greater general creditability in the early twenty-first century than in the periods to which they are attributed. Classen remarks: “The reason I focus on this one myth has not so much to do with is highly curious and salacious nature with might titillate so many an uninformed reader, but because of its enormous popularity, especially in modern times, particularly outside of the world of academic Medieval Studies, hence its mythical dimension (17).”

The author also does well to provide the reader with an overview of “myth theory” from major exponents: Ernst Cassirer, Kathleen Biddick, Mark Jones, Michel Tournier, Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthe and Angela Carter, including a summative review by Eleazar M. Meletinsky.

In the second part of the book entitled: “Modern and Medieval Myth-Making,” the reader learns how the myth of the chastity belt gained further academic credence through the influential work of the dilettante art historian, Eduard Fuchs and his Illustrierte Sittengeschichte vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. Classen convincely shows how historical attributions can be transmitted without the relevant sources and earlier accounts having been checked for repetition and inaccuracy, i.e., how the hermeneutic circle can readily be self-perpetuating. Especially interesting is the section on literary and historical evidence, in particular, “Marie de France—The Symbolic Belt and its Profound Misinterpretation.” Classen remarks: “A sensitive reading of Marie de France’s Guigemar demonstrates that the belt itself has only allegorical meaning, especially since the belt guarantees the purity of love between two young people, while all those who fail to open the belt are determined by nothing but sexual desires and treat women in a violent manner (110).” Part two concludes with an examination of the myth’s transmission into the Renaissance- and Baroque literature and art and as well as a consideration of the theme in modern art.

The third part of the book complements the treatment of the chastity belt myth through an excursus on another myth, “The Jus Primae Noctis, the Droit du Cuissage (Droit du Seigneur)”. Classen aptly completes his study by returning to the myth-making process in regard to the chastity belt: “The Nature of Myths Revisited.” The author notes in conclusion: “…the purpose of this study was to trace the history of this myth-making process from the late Middle Ages until today, to examine how older scholarship, if we want to call it that, dealt with this topic, how its findings influenced authors of relevant lexicon and encyclopedia entries, and hence how this erotic myth deeply impacted popular opinions” (156).”

The reader will find that Albrecht Classen’s contribution is not only a caveat about the dangers of taking source material on face value alone, but also a fascinating study of how myths can evolve and flourish. In sum, this is a good and useful book.

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

SMGS News from Colleagues

Karina Marie Ash (University of California–Los Angeles) is the 2008 recipient of the Sidney M. Johnson Prize from SMGS. She has been conducting research in Konstanz to transcribe a Marienleben from the early 15th century and examine it in relation to Werhner’s Marienleben.

Francis B. Brévart (University of Pennsylvania) has recently published a major article, “Between Medicine, Magic, and Religion: Wonder Drugs in German Medico-Pharmaceutical Treatises of the Thirteenth to the Sixteenth Centuries,” Speculum 83 (2008), 1-57.

(University of Pennsylvania) has recently published a major article, “Between Medicine, Magic, and Religion: Wonder Drugs in German Medico-Pharmaceutical Treatises of the Thirteenth to the Sixteenth Centuries,” 83 (2008), 1-57.Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona) has recently been honored at his university with the Henry Koffler Award for 2008 as the most prolific scholar university-wide.


Arthur Groos (Cornell University) is currently on sabbatical having spent the fall as Fowler Hamilton Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, and this spring in Berlin as part of the Nachkontakt program for winners of the Alexander von Humboldt Forschungspreis.

Siglinde Hartmann (Universität Frankfurt) has issued the following invitation:

Die Oswald-von-Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft is sponsoring the following symposium:

Konrad von Megenberg (1309-1374): ein spätmittelalterlicher ,Enzyklopädist’ im europäischen Kontext. 27 –29 August 2009 in the Thon Dittmer-Palais, Regensburg.

You may contact:

William Layher (Washington University in St. Louis) is currently on a year-long sabbatical in Bamberg, Germany. On Saint Valentine’s Day, his second daughter, Else Magdalene, was born in the Luisenstraße.

Sara S. Poor (Princeton University) has recently received a major honor from the Medieval Academy of America: The John Nicholas Brown Prize for the best first book, Mechthild of Madgeburg and her Book: Gender and the Making of Textual Authority (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). Her book also won the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship Book Prize in 2006. Congratulations from SMGS!

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 Department of Classical & Modern Languages at Truman State University for its support of this publication. All errors and oversights are attributable solely to me as editor.

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, McClain Hall 310, Kirksville, MO 63501-4221 (U.S.A.).

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

On behalf of Stephen Mark Carey and Ernst Ralf Hintz,

All good wishes from SMGS!