Nr. 28, Spring 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Once again we are delighted that The Society for Medieval German Studies is sponsoring five sessions at the 44th 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. In addition, we are especially grateful for his vision and successful efforts to found the new SMGS journal: New Research in Medieval Germanic Studies. Our thanks also go out to the Editorial Board for its support and willingness to review submissions for the first edition. SMGS is also pleased that the fourth recipient of the Sidney M. Johnson Award, Hailey LaVoy (University of Notre Dame) will be presenting at one of our sessions. At the New Books Round Table this year, SMGS features the recent book by Alexander Sager (University of Georgia). 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 2009

Session I (176)

Valley 1 109

Thursday 7 May, 7:30 p.m.

Emotions in Medieval German Literature

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Karina Marie Ash (University of California-Los Angeles)

“The Medieval Sublime and Its Emotions: Gottfried’s Tristan

C. Stephen Jaeger (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign)

“Aporias of the Lament in Albrecht’s Jüngerer Titurel”

Alexander Sager (University of Georgia at Athens)

“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)


Session II (218)

Fetzer 2030

Friday 8 May, 10:00 a.m.

Lives and Legends of the Virgin Mary in Medieval German

Organizer: Steve Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Rasma Lazda-Cazers (University of Alabama)

“The Monk’s Miraculous Vision of the Virgin Mary in Chronicles of the Teutonic Order“

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

“Comparing the Lives of Mary: From Priester Wernher’s Maria to an Anonymous Fifteenth-Century Marienleben from Konstanz”

Karina Marie Ash (University of California-Los Angeles)

Session III (279)

Fetzer 2030

Friday 8 May, 1:30 p.m.


Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

“Christianizing the Heathen? The Bridal-Quest Motif in Arabel and Rennewart

Cordula Böcking-Politis (Trinity College, University of Dublin)

“Old High German in Ninth-Century Fulda”

Hailey LaVoy (University of Notre Dame)

“Germania und Romania in der Wielandsage? Der Meisterschutze Egil und das Runenkastchen von Auzon (British Museum, um 700)”

Max Siller (Universität Innsbruck)

Nuremberg Stadtlob, 1447-1530

Arthur Groos (Cornell University)

Session IV (331)

Valley I 109

Friday 8 May, 3:30 p.m.

C. Stephen Jaeger’s The Origins of Courtliness Twenty-Five Years Later

(A Roundtable Discussion)

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

A roundtable discussion with Richard E. Barton (University of North Carolina-Greensboro); Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona-Tucson), and Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand (Appalachian State University) and C. Stephen Jaeger (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign


New Books Roundtable

Fetzer 1060

Friday 8 May, 8:00 p.m.

Sponsor: Society for Medieval German Studies

Organizer: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

Alexander Sager (University of Georgia) presents his book:

Minne von maeren: On Wolfram’s Titurel (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2006)

Related Sessions of Interest

Medieval German Heroic Epics about Roland, the Nibelungen,

Willehalm, and Others

(34) Schneider 1360

Thursday May 7, 10:00 a.m.

Organizer and Presider: Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania)

Friendship in the Middle Ages I

(43) Bernard 212

Thursday May 7, 10:00 a.m.

Organizer: Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona)

Presider: Francis Brévart (University of Pennsylvania)

Further Friendship sessions are (93) and(164).

Deutschordensliteratur: Legends, Drama, Chronicle, Epics, Bible Translations

(408) Schneider 1125

Saturday May 9, 10:00 a.m.

Sponsor: Oswald-von-Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft

Organizers: Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania) and

Ulrich Müller (Universität Salzburg)

The Poetics of Legends: Legends and Romance

(521) Schneider 1145

Saturday May 9, 3:30 p.m.

Organizer: Matthias Meyer and Constanza Cordoni (Universität Wien)�

Presider: Matthias Meyer (Universität Wien)

Chivalry and Courtliness

(556) Valley 1 106,

Sunday 10 May, 8:30 a.m.

Sponsor: International Courtly Literature Society

Organizer and Presider: Carol R. Dover (Georgetown University)

Walter von der Vogelweide: Text and Music

(605) Bernhard 105

Sunday 10 May, 10:30 a.m.

Sponsor: Oswald-von-Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft

Organizers: Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania) and

Ulrich Müller (Universität Salzburg)

New Books Roundtable

Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

Alexander Sager (University of Georgia at Athens) will be presenting his recent contribution to our field:

Minne von maeren: On Wolfram’s Titurel, Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 206

SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo, Friday evening, 8 May, Fetzer 1060, 8:00 p.m.

We will also introduce the SMGS Yearbook and present the Sidney M. Johnson Award. Copies of the inaugural edition of the SMGS Yearbook will be available for purchase at $30 each — a portion of the cost will supplement the traditional passing of the hat for the Sidney M. Johnson fund.

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2009

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 2009 will be Hailey LaVoy  (University of  Notre Dame) for her submission “Old High German in Ninth-Century Fulda” We are looking forward to hearing her presentation at the SMGS Germania-Romania session at Kalamazoo, Friday 8 May 2009.


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 our members 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. Reviews from The SMGS News & Reviews will also appear. The SMGS Yearbook accepts revised papers from 2009 sessions along with other articles submitted for consideration by the Editorial Board. The purchase price will be $30.00 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

A complete listing of books received will appear in each Fall/Winter edition of the SMGS News & Reviews.


SMGS Reviews

minne von mæren: On Wolfram’s Titurel. By Alexander Sager. Göttigen: V&R unipress, 2006. 168 pages. $47.95.

Alexander Sager relies heavily on Wolfram’s Parzival, Albrecht’s Jüngerer Titurel and Bakhtin’s discourse theory to develop his treatment of the Titurel fragment. Yet, Nietzsche is first to come to mind, when attempting to summarize what Sager has achieved: Die Umwertung aller Werte. This study provides totally new answers to perennial questions of Titurel scholarship and in the process raises new questions which are of importance and interest far beyond any single work.  Certainly, this short work advances understanding of Titurel and Wolfram’s Parzival but also provides a unique and compelling portrait of the interplay between narrator, audience and the experience of the text in the Middle Ages as well as new insights into medieval childhood socialization.

In his introduction, Sager states the relatively straightforward aim of the study, “In the original text, Sigune’s and Schionatulander’s reactions to the leash stand forth in a hyperbolic contrast difficult to understand. To understand it will be the central task of this study.” (9)   The starting point for this understanding employs the poetological discourse in Parzival to provide insight into gendered representation of literary reception and interpretation of Gardeviaz’s leash. In chaper one, “Gendered Readership in Parzival,” Sager builds on the work of Arthur Groos (Romancing the Grail et al.) to flesh out a Bakhtinian reading which asserts that Titurel surpasses Parzival in the development towards the authentic novel. (23) Sager then provides a new reading of the literary program in the Parzival prologue, the Selbstverteidigung and other authorial asides which culminate in the assertion that Sigune of Titurel is a literary manifestation of the female audience constructed in Parzival. (32)

In chapter two, Sager’s innovative reading of the “tocken” or doll motif opens up entirely new aspects of Sigune’s agency as protagonist as well as uncovering yet another layer of Wolfram’s ferocious critique of the literary representation of the courtly love ideal and its construction of human intimacy.  On preparing to leave the company of her Cousin Condwiramurs and move to her Aunt Herzeloyde’s house, the five year old Sigune comments, “[. . .] please have my chest filled with dolls [. . .] That way, I’ll be well prepared for the journey. There are many knights alive who will one day bind themselves to my service.” Instead of following the traditional reading of these lines, which hold them to be an expression of the child-like notion that the young girl believes that she can satisfy the knights by giving them dolls as love tokens, Sager suggests that they are an expression of her “future status as obligatrix of knights” (36) and function as “transitional objects.” Drawing on work of James Schultz and Latin sources, Sager concludes “Sigune’s games with dolls are a quasi-hagiographic praeludium of her future as a courtly lady. They are not an indication of childhood foolishness of deficiency, but demonstrate an awareness and sensibility [. . .] of her path in life.” (46-47) Sager also sees this initial transition as one which clearly allies Sigune with the problematic (pre-motherhood) Herzeloyde-minne as opposed to the Condwiramurs-minne. Sager rounds out this discussion by including further Latin sources and comparing the parallel passages in Albrecht’s Jüngerer Titurel.

Chapter three, “sælde and socialization,” begins with a word study of sælde which demonstrates, similar to countless studies of words like triuwe and kiusch, that the semantic value of the concept is not fixed and is a dynamic part of the text as communication which unfolds in context and interpretation.  Sager approaches this problems with concept of court-as-narrator and seeks to establish a theory of “dialogically narrated representation (69)” to describe the multivalence in Wolfram’s work. Sager then continues with a discussion of socialization, focusing on Schionatulander’s  coming of age in the service of Gahmuret and the consequences thereof.�

In chapter four, Sager expands on ideas from his article on “Geheimnis und Subjekt in Wolframs Titurel” PBB 125.2 (2003):268-291. Sager’s focus on the socialization of the characters serves to make several key distinctions here that complicate traditional readings. Sager states the main problems of the secrecy in the text as follows, “The secrecy of Sigune’s and Schionatulander’s relationship proceeds from an unusual motivation – namely from no clear motivation at all.” (84) However, of course, with an eye on the socialization process, the meaning of the secrecy as an expression of zuht and art becomes clear. Of course, this plays a role in the complex critique of courtly mores. As Sager notes, “the expression ûzen tougenlîche condenses with sophisticated irony the incongruous characterological and narratological perspectives on amorous secrecy.” (88) Sager reveals an astonishingly realistic development of psychological traits consistent with the two very different processes of socialization (99). These same qualities can then be applied to the gendered differences that also appear in the passages in which Herzeloyde and Gahmuret advise the young lovers. This discussion sets the stage for Sager’s unique reading of the “Schuldfrage” or question of guilt in the Arthurian romances in general, with which the chapter concludes.

Sager concludes the study with full explication of the assertions of the first chapter. The final chapter, “Sigune as reader” argues for a reading of Sigune reading, which is precisely the adventure or mæare on the leash. Sager asserts that Sigune is far more than simply feminine parallel to Parzival  and holds that “Sigune’s voice, her private truth, and the whole narrative of Titurel is nothing less nor more than one of these mære (152) and that she “re-predicates the salvation of the entire Grail realm on a moment of profound ‘feminine’ insight into the relationship between love and discourse, between minne and mæren.” (157). With those final lines, which restate the title of the work itself, the author concludes a study which provides new insights into not only Wolfram’s Titurel but expands our understanding of the richness of medieval literary discourse. This wonderfully written work continued to surprise and please by challenging, expanding, or inverting almost every assumption I had about Titurel.  I will be returning to it over and over again and I highly recommend it.


Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)


SMGS News from Colleagues

Winder McConnell (University of California–Davis) has co-edited together with Karen McConnell a new Festschrift entitled: “Er ist ein wol gevriunder man” Essays in Honor of Ernst S. Dick on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, Hildesheim, Zürich, New York: Georg Olms Verlag, 2009, pp. 395. ISBN 978-3-487-13925-8.

Christoph Flüeler (Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland)

“It started as a preservation mission for a single abbey, but grew into a more ambitious effort to put medieval documents from all over Switzerland on a single web site. Now the Stiftsbibliothek is part of a network for digitizing medieval manuscripts called the ‘Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland.” – Spiegel Online –

“What started as a pilot project in 2005 grew sharply last year, when the Saint Gallen project was incorporated into a program to digitize all of Switzerland’s roughly 7,000 manuscripts.” The New York Times, October 18, 2008

This project of the Medieval Institute of the University of Fribourg is accessible at:



The site has been regularly updated to now include 380 complete manuscripts from 16 Swiss manuscript collections. It is sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and E-lib (Digital Library of Switzerland).

Alexander Sager (University of Georgia) has made an audiobook-type recording of Iwein, which is available for free download as a podcast. The site is:

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 2009.

On behalf of Stephen Mark Carey and Ernst Ralf Hintz,

All good wishes from SMGS!

Ex scientia misericordia