Nr. 29, Fall/Winter 2009/10

Dear Colleagues,

We are again pleased that The Society for Medieval Germanic Studies is sponsoring five sessions at the 45th Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo in May 2010. We wish to thank Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University) for his considerable contribution to promoting Medieval Studies by organizing our SMGS sessions over these past years and we look forward to seeing him for years to come at Kalamazoo. We are also pleased to welcome our new SMGS Organizers, Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) and Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens), who have put together an exciting program for us this year at Kalamazoo.

Table of Contents

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2010

New Books Roundtable

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2010

New Books Received for SMGS Review

SMGS Review

News from Colleagues

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2010

Session I

Thursday, May 13, 2010, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Bernard 213

Minnesang und Maeren:

Presider: Stephen Mark Carey (Georgia State University)

“‘Daz aber dû verswîgen solt’: Self-Muting of the Female Lyric Voice in Reimar”

Kathryn Malczyk (University of Pennsylvania)

“Urrâ burrâ”: Punchline and Performance in Neidhart’s “Ich erwinde niemer”

William Layher (Washington University in St. Louis)

“All you need is love… The Influence of Ovid and Andreas Capellanus on Frauenlobs Leichs”

Michaela Wiesinger (Universität Wien)

Session II

Friday, May 14, 2010, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Bernard 210

New Research on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival

Presider: Arthur Groos (Cornell University)

“Intertextual Toponymy in Wolfram’s Parzival

Christoph Steppich (Texas A&M University)

“Arthur’s Court as Informational Medium: Maere and Meta-Maere in Wolfram’s Parzival

Carl Gelderloos (Cornell University)

“Discrepancies and Commonalities in the Visual & Textual Telling of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival in CGM 19 (München) & CPG 339 (Heidelberg)”

Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University)

“Iterity: Trevîzent and Parzival”

James Marchand (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Session III

Thursday May 13, 2010, 7:30-9:00 p.m., Bernard 204

Space, Place and Movement in Medieval German Literature

Presider: Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University)

“Raum erzählen – Raum konstruieren. Raumbeschreibungen in der Hisoriographie und Literatur des 12. Jahrhunderts”

Martin Clauss (Universität Regensburg)

“Der ‘eingebildete’ Raum? Überlegungen zur Konstruktion von Raum im deutschsprachigen Prosaroman des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts”

Gabriele Klug (Universität Graz)

“Das Jenseits als Bewegungsraum. Die Formierung christlicher Läuterungsräume in Jenseitsreisen der Antike und des Mittelalters (Visio Pauli, Visio Tnugdali)”

Maximilian Benz & Julia Weitbrecht (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Session IV

Saturday, May 15, 2010, 10:00-11:30 a.m., Schneider 1235

Translating Into and From Medieval German

Presider: Edward R. Haymes (Cleveland State University)

Keie in Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein and Felicitas Hoppe’s Iwein Löwenritter. A Comparison

Judith Benz (Juniata College)

“Mittelalterliche Reimdichtung in neuem Gewande: Prosaübersetzung oder Nachdichtung?”

Max Siller (Universität Innsbruck)

New Books Roundtable

Presider: Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens)

Elke Koch (Universität Göttingen) presents her significant contribution to our field:

Trauer und Identität. Inszenierung von Emotionen in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters, Gruyter, 2006.

SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo in 2010. Friday, May 14, 2010, 8:00-10:00 p.m., Bernard 204

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2010

SMGS is delighted to announce The Sidney M. Johnson Award for the best abstract submitted to SMGS from a graduate student or former graduate student within one semester of having received a doctorate. The recipient for 2010 will be Gabriele Klug (Universität Graz) for her submission “Der ‘eingebildete’ Raum? Überlegungen zur Konstruktion von Raum im deutschsprachigen Prosaroman des 15. Und 16. Jahrhunderts.” We are looking forward to hearing her presentation in SMGS Session III at Kalamazoo, 2010.

New Books Received for SMGS Review

Sigrid Rachoinig, Wir tun kund und lassen dich wissen – Briefe, Urkunden und Akten als spätmittelalterliche Grundformen schriftlicher Kommunication, dargestellt anhand der Lebenszeugnisse Oswalds von Wolkenstein, In: Mediävistik zwischen Forschung, Lehre und Öffentlichkeit, ed. Wernfried Hofmeister, Vol. 2. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2009. 319, pp. ISBN: 978-3-631-58468-2.

SMGS Reviews

Jakob Ruf. Leben, Werk und Studien, 5 vols., ed. Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, together with Linus Hunkeler, Andrea Kauer, et al. 2nd rev. and expanded ed. Zürich: Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 2008. Ill.

Admittedly, Hans Rupprich mentioned Jakob Ruf in his literary history from 1973 (373-74), simply listing his major plays, but most other reference works do not even know his name. Nevertheless, as the new edition of all of his works prepared under the leadership of Hildegard Elisabeth Keller clearly indicates, Ruf was a major figure in sixteenth-century Zürich, and this not only in his role as city surgeon and medical writer, but also as a significant composer of plays. These and all other texts by Ruf are now finally made available by Keller and a whole team of collaborators in this five-volume edition. This writer and physician quickly strikes us as a remarkable personality who obviously enjoyed great respect far and wide both for his medical, surgical skills and his accomplishments as a playwright. Born around 1505 or 1506, he joined the Premonstratensian monastery in Chur as a young man, but this existence did not satisfy him in the long run, so in 1525 he left again in order to conduct his life based on the result of his own hands’ labor, as he formulated it himself when he returned home to Constance. Moreover, he had learned of the Protestant Reformation and soon abandoned Catholicism altogether. Ruf then moved to Zürich, where he quickly gained a good foothold and developed a highly respectable career as the city surgeon.

For the reader it is not easy to figure out the specific dates and developments because the various contributors to the first volume tend to discuss rather the generic historical context both within Zürich and in Switzerland at large, without giving us concrete data, as far as they could fathom from the many biographical documents available still today. For instance, Hubert Steinke summarily examines Ruf’s rise from apprentice to surgeon in the city’s employ, but he really only discusses in general terms the larger context pertaining to the living and working conditions of such an apprentice, the promotion to journeyman, and then to master. Then we are given extensive reports about surgeons at large during the sixteenth century, whereas Ruf himself seems to be lost out of the author’s sight.

Stefan Schöbi studies the existence of journeymen, offering helpful insights on a broad level, but his account, like in the case of most other contributions to the first volume, remains unspecific and lacks in scholarly depth. He then refers to the death of the city surgeon Jakob Sprenger in 1531 during the “Kappel” War, which proved to be the ideal chance for Ruf to assume that vacant position. But can we hence assume that this happened in 1531? I am not so sure, and the text does not offer the expected help. Unfortunately, this central problem continues to occur in most of these shorter articles which are pleasant to read, but really too brief in biographical terms and leave the reader guessing as to the specifics. We can be certain that Ruf enjoyed a great reputation for his outstanding skills as a surgeon, and he also endeavored to study on his own the entire history of medicine since antiquity, as documented by his various treatises, such as his Ärzte- und Astrologenverzeichnis (again, no date given). His astrological tracts and his book of consolation for midwives assisting pregnant women in delivery deserve the great attention which they receive here. Hubert Steinke emphasizes that Ruf’s Trostbüchlein was published in Latin in the same year when the original German version had appeared, hence 1554, but why is this date not given much earlier for the latter, the prime object here?

Other contributors outline Ruf’s role on the Zürich book market, the social network in ?ürich, and the circumstances of the theater plays by Ruf performed in the city since 1539 with his play Weingarten (Schöbi). Keller then provides a chronological overview of all texts by Ruf from 1538 (Etter Heini) to his Fischsprüch (1555)-a kind of calender of prophecies. This is followed by a detailed discussion of all the relevant sources from which Ruf’s biography could be developed, whereas the biography itself is somehow missing. The volume concludes with an innovative collection of short articles on important aspects of life in sixteenth-century Zürich and of significance for Ruf, beginning with the fundamental reference to Adam and Eve, the role of an abbess (Katharina von Zimmern), ancestors, peasants, obsession (“Besessenheit” – here in the meaning not of ‘obsession,’ but of mental sickness), libraries, Swiss Confederation, liberty, birth, manuscripts, etc., all nicely illustrated. These articles are useful for the general reader, but even the expert will welcome some of the information here, though the entries represent an odd mix in trying to be both learned and popular. The extensive bibliography at the end indicates how much the contributors have endeavored to investigate all and everything relevant for their topics, though I still miss some depth and notice a lack of concern at times regarding details pertaining to Ruf himself.

But we need to keep the primary purpose of the first volume in mind because it was conceived as a companion volume to the Ruf exhibit in Zürich that took place from March 15 to May 16, 2006, as one can learn, however, only by searching online (not in this volume): The present volume represents the second, revised edition, but it remains unclear what was changed or improved. Overall, it would have been really helpful if a factual biography had also been included. Instead, we must leaf back and forth, read chapter after chapter to figure out the major events and stages in Ruf’s life.

With the second volume we come to the most important contribution since this and the subsequent four other volumes contain Ruf’s complete works, edited by Keller in a critical fashion. The second volume begins with Etter Heini, Weingarten, then offers early broadsheets, and two plays that had been erroneously attributed to Ruf, the Zürcher Hiob and the Zürcher Joseph. The third volume contains Ruf’s Ärzte- und Astrologenverzeichnis, the Astrologentafel, the plays Wilhelm Tell and Passion, followed by his Augenheilkunde, another broadsheet, the “Konstanzerlied,” and the “Lied von Frau Schwätzerin.” The fourth volume offers the late play Adam und Eva, then Ruf’s famous Trostbüchlein both in Latin (here on the right side) and German (on the left side), and various texts for calendars, regularly of prognostic orientation.

The fifth and last volume returns to the critical examination of Ruf’s work, situating it in the wider social-historical and cultural context. Keller offers a “Literaturgeschichte der Ärzte,” which does not treat the motif of medical doctors in literature, but the history of those doctors as creators of literary texts, from Steinhöwel to Rabelais. Clemens Müller examines Ruf’s relationship to the Zürich humanists, his level of Latin education, and his humanistic ideals. Three subsequent articles discuss the specific characteristics of early-modern theater in light of Ruf’s contributions. The next section with two articles analyzes the history of midwifery, Ruf’s professional training, and the history of the Europe-wide reception of Ruf’s famous Trostbüchlein. Clemens Müller concludes with a study on pharmacotherapy and pharmaceutics as viewed and dealt with by Ruf. The volume is impressively rounded off with the black and white reproduction of all images in every work produced by Ruf.

The first volume is accompanied by an audio CD with tracks introducing individual works by Ruf. The last volume comes with a CD-ROM that offers color reproductions of the complete set of illustrations available in the printed material, and then both the edition and the copies of the original manuscripts and/or prints. The images of the Latin version of the Trostbüchlein (1554) are contained only on the CD-ROM.

Keller and her team have taken the greatest care to provide the full scholarly apparatus in order to make the edition to a critical one, introducing each text in literary- and cultural-historical terms, examining the structure and stage strategies pursued, and analyzing carefully the relevant text base, comparing the manuscripts and/or prints with each other. For the edition a number of decisions had to be taken, which are fully disclosed but do not need to be discussed in greater detail here. The situations change from text to text, but the critical apparatus always meets all the expectations of such a scholarly edition. Moreover, for every edited text there is an extensive commentary, offering a wealth of background information and explanations.

Altogether, Keller and her collaborators have done full justice to Jakob Ruf and demonstrated his extraordinary significance both within the context of sixteenth-century Zürich and Switzerland, and with regard to the history of early-modern medicine, surgery, midwifery, literature, political, didactic polemics, pharmacology, astrology, and prognostics.

To my great relief the fifth volume concludes with detailed registers for subject matters, historical names (persons), and the names of modern scholars. The time has come to open a new chapter in the history of sixteenth-century German literature and the history of science and medicine. Keller and her team have to be thanked for carrying out such a monumental task. And not to forget, these five volumes stand out as remarkably beautifully bound books with astonishingly sophisticated use of colored pages to separate chapters, and the use of colored script to highlight and distinguish key aspects or names. Ruf’s Kritische Gesamtausgabe demonstrates, amazingly, how much post-modern bibliophile production and solid philological research can go harmoniously hand in hand.

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona)

Alois, Wolf, Minne – aventiure – herzenjâmer

Begleitende und ergänzende Beobachtungen und Überlegungen zur Literaturgeschichte des volkssprachlichen Mittelalters, In: Rombach Wissenschaften. Reihe Litterae, eds. Gerhard Neumann and Günter Schnitzler, Freiburg i.Br.: Rombach Verlag, 2007. 352 pp. ISBN: 978-3-7930-9496-8.

At least four generations of medievalists interested in the interplay of medieval German and French literature have been enriched by the work of Alois Wolf. Arguably, this recent book may surpass his earlier contributions by offering us a synthesis of a lifetime of philological knowledge and interpretative wisdom. Wolf refrains from engaging in the ongoing debate over periodicity with regard to the end of “late” antiquity and the beginning of the “medieval period.” Accordingly, he disregards contrived definitions and artificial borders in favor of an approach that acknowledges the fluidity of historical thought and literary tradition. The eight chapters of this book offer a contiguous panorama beginning with historical precedents leading to the “Vermittelalterlichung antiker Stoffe und überbietende Loslösung von der Antike,” the medieval reevaluation of eros and its subsequent expression in minne as “exaltation of joy and universal illuminatio,” further to the literary new orientation of knighthood in the matière de Bretagne, and finally to the realization of a new poetic reality in the vernacular and its influence on the emerging “literary public” as a contribution both to “Humanisierung und zur Bewältigung von Überlieferungen.” Moreover, as most works on German medieval studies neglect or pay only cursory attention to the literature of Scandinavia, the reader may well find the eighth chapter on Icelandic Skalden poetry and Sagas a useful complement to the main thrust of the study.

In focusing on the genesis of the emerging vernacular literary world in Frankish lands and its later differentiation into German and French offshoots, Wolf first traces the process from discernable precedents in the fourth century, which he insightfully views as the “zweite Gründerzeit des Christentums.” In doing so, he convincingly reveals what would constitute nascent “medieval thought” as it appeared in Christian literature and exegetical works. Of special note is Wolf’s use of a concept adopted from art history, Diaphanie: “Auf ein weiteres faszinierendes Merkmal der volkssprachlichen Literatur des Mittelalters sei hingewiesen auf die Fähigkeit und Bereitschaft zu diaphanem Darstellen und Gestalten. Das Wort im einzelnen wie die Komposition einer größeren Einheit vermag sich zu öffnen für Dahinterliegendes, wodurch die Aussage erst ihre volle Gültigkeit erhält. Mit der Wahl … des Begriffs Diaphanie soll zum Ausdruck gebracht werden, daß die Literatur des Mittelalters potentiell an dem umfassenden Phänomendes Verlangens nach höherer und universeller Sinngebung Anteil hat. Diaphanie hat mit Auge und Schauen zu tun: dabei kommt es auf das eigentümlich Mittelalterliche und Unantikishe dieses Schauens an, das im Biblischen begründet ist. So ist ja schon laut Genesis, das Schöpfungswerk mit dem Schauen verbunden, wenn es nach jedem Akt heißt et vidit dues quod esset bonum. Und am Ende der Zeiten steht als Verheißung die visio pacis im Himmlischen Jerusalem, wovon bereits das Irdische videre per speculum eine Vorahnung vermitteln konnte. … Die Unvollkommenheit des Schauens mit dem leiblichen Auge wird überwunden durch das Sehen mit den oculi cordis und oculi animae.” (44-45) Diaphanic tradition, then, becomes readily apparent in Augustine’s Confessiones. To Wolf’s credit, he takes care to examine antique Latin literary traditions with the necessary discernment required to pay biblical tradition its due.

Overall, Wolf’s methodological point of departure constitutes a cogent re-envisioning of the origins of twelfth- and early thirteenth-century vernacular literature. Because he is able to identify traditions, their sources and subsequent derivations with precision, he aptly avoids the temptations and trap of reductionism. The development of literary thought in Frankish lands such as the Aachener Karlsepos from circa 800 with its unmistakable echo of Virgil’s own imperial epos, the Aeneis, highlights obserable lines of dissemination. The reader interested in religious literature is sure to find chapter two on the Frankish national-religious “impuls” especially useful in situating early medieval literature contextually vis-à-vis Latin tradition Of major significance is “die römische Imperialisierung des Christentums,” which would manifest itself thematically in the notion of La douce France as in works such as the Rolandslied, the old Wilhelmslied, Aliscanzepos, not to mention Chansons de geste and even the Nibelungenepos. Wolf aptly notes at the outset of this study: “Mögen die neuen christlichen Inhalte noch so sehr ins Transzendente weisen, heidnisch imperiale Denkmodelle lauerten nichtsdestoweniger im Hintergrund und konnten den christlichen Gegenentwurf konterkarieren. In den Kreuzzügen mit ihrer Verquickung von echt religiösem Impuls und plattem irdischem Machtstreben sollte das bedrängende Realität werden.” (11) This insight proves especially applicable to medieval epic literature in subsequent chapters.

In sum, Wolf has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of the reception and influence of Latin literature and traditions, secular and religious, on works of the early and high medieval period-both those still regarded by many scholars as canonical and those that have been all but ignored.

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

SMGS News from Colleagues

Klaus Amann(Universität Innsbruck) has edited, with commentary, a recently discovered fragment of the Pfäferser Passionsspiel from ca. 1230-after the Benediktbeurer Passionsspiel, the second oldest passion play.

In: Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft – Germanistische Reihe Band 74

You may order with the subscription price of EUR 27,00 until May 31, 2010.

Das Pfäferser Passionsspielfragment. Untersuchung -Edition- Kommentar. 2010.

254. EUR 36, 00 ISBN 978-3-901064-37-1

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona-Tucson) has a number of recent contributions.

Deutsche Schwankliteratur des 16. Jahrhunderts: Studien zu Martin Montanus, Hans Wilhelm Kirchhof und Michael Lindener. Koblenz-Landauer Studien zu Geistes-, Kultur-und Bildungswissenschaften, 4 (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2009. X, 200.

Urban Space in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times, ed. Albrecht Classen. Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture, 4 (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. Vii. 757, 70 ill.

“Farting and the Power of Human Language with a Focus on Hans Wilhelm Kirchhof’s Sixteenth-Century Schwänke,” In: Medievalia et Humanistica 35 (2009): 57-76.

“Liederhandschriften und gedruckte Liederbücher als Textallianzen um 1500. Ein Textcorpus an der Schwelle des großen Epochenwechels,” Literarische und religiöse Textsorten und Textallianzen um 1500, eds. Alexander Schwarz, Franz Simmler, and Claudia Wich-Reif. Handbuch, 1. Berliner Sprachwissenschaftliche Studien, 20 (Berlin: Weidler, 2009), 75-88.

“Schwellenphänomen, Paradigmenwechsel, Popularitätserfolg: Hybridisierung und Konkretisierung des spätmittelalterlichen Liebeslieds als Erfolgsrezept beim Mönch von Salzburg,” Studia Neophilologica 81 (2009): 69-86.

“Disguises, Gender-Bending, and Clothing Symbolism in Dietrich von der Gletze’s

Der Borte,” Seminar XLV, 2 (2009): 95-110.

Ernst S. Dick (University of Kansas, emeritus) has received a second Festschrift in his honor: “Er ist ein wol gevriunder man” Essays in Honor of Ernst S. Dick on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday, edited by Karen McConnell and Winder McConnel, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2009. 395. ISBN: 978-3-487-13925-8.

Peter Dinzelbacher (Universität Wien) has two new publications.

Unglaube im ‘Zeitalter des Glaubens’ – Atheismus und Skeptizismus im Mittelalter, Badenweiler: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Michael P. Bachmann, 160. EUR 23,95.

Peter Dinzelbacher (Universität Augsburg) and Ralph Frenken (Frankfurt/Main),

Der steinerne Blick – Symbolköpfe der Romanik, DWV, ISBN: 978-3-86888-003-8.

William Layher (Washington University in St. Louis) has been elected to the MLA Executive Committee of the Division on German Literature to 1700.

Matthias Meyer (Universität Wien) together with Constanza Cordoni (Universitat Wien) have organized the following event: Barlaam und Josaphat in der Literatur des MittelaltersInternationales Symposium, April 15-18, 2010.

Winder McConnell (University of California-Davis) and Marion Gibbs have translated Der Welsche Gast (The Italian Guest), Thomasin von Zirclaria, with Introduction and Notes. In: Medieval German Texts in Bilingual Editions IV. Ed. Michael Curschmann. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2009. VIII + 248.

Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) has published “Undercutting the Fabric of Courtly Love with ‘Tokens of Love’ in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival” accepted for publication in the inaugural issue of the Yearbook of the Society for Medieval German Studies, I (2009): 8-33.

“Reading Parzival’s Quest for the Holy Grail as a Unique Exile Experience.” In: Weltanschauliche Orientierungsversuche im Exil / Changes of World View in Exile. Edited by Reinhard Andress, co-edited by Greg Divers & Evelyn Meyer, Amsterdam: Rodopi, (in press) forthcoming 2010.

Olga Trokhimenko (University of North Carolina-Wilmington) and Marcus Stock (University of Toronto) have organized three sessions: (1) Aesthetics and Style in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, (2) Art in Literature – Literature in Art in Medieval and Early Modern Culture, and (3) Suffering in Medieval and Early Modern Culture for YMAGINA (Young Medievalist Germanists in North America) for the Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association in Oakland, CA. October 7-10, 2010.

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.

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 May 2010.

On behalf of Evelyn Meyer, Alexander Sager and Ernst Ralf Hintz,

All good wishes from SMGS!