Nr. 31, Fall/Winter 2010/11

Dear Colleagues,

The Society for Medieval Germanic Studies is delighted to be sponsoring five sessions at the 46th Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo in May 12-15, 2011. We wish to thank our SMGS Organizers, Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) and Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens) for their considerable efforts in putting together yet another exciting program for us.



Table of Contents

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2011

New Books Roundtable

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2011

New Books Received for SMGS Review

SMGS Review

News from Colleagues




SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2011


I.       hôher êren pflegen: A Session in Honor of Ed Haymes

Session Chair: Ray M. Wakefield (University of Minnesota)


Kevin Richards (Ohio State University) “Siegfried the Blue-Helmet: Negotiating the Germanic Heroic Ethos in the Nibelungenlied Adaptations of Wolfgang Hohlbein and Thorsten Dewi.”


Jon Sherman (Northern Michigan University) “daz sol iuch unverdaget sîn: The Language of Hiding and Revealing in the Nibelungenlied


Danielle Buschinger (Université de Picardie-Jules Verne) & Galina Baeva (Staatliche Universität Sankt-Petersburg) “Richard Wagners Wieland der Schmid



II.    Working Theology in Medieval German Literature

Session Chair: Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University)


Claire Taylor Jones (University of Pennsylvania) “Kissing the Pagan: Unity, Identity, and the Failure of Metaphysical Community in Willehalm


Joshua Davis (University of Montana) “Nehain lip wane Christ unde daz wip: Negotiating Feminine Narrative Space in Ava’s daz leben Jesu


J. A. Wayne Hellmann (Saint Louis University) “Liturgical Symbolism in Parzival



III. Communication and Narration in Medieval Arthurian Romance

Session Chair: Susanne Hafner (Fordham University)


Markus Greulich (Universität Wien) “doch sag ich dir ein mære. histoire and discours in Hartmanns Iwein


Jeffrey Turco (Purdue University) “Wolfram’s Bow and the Technology of the Book (Parzival 241,1-30)”


Jerold C. Frakes (State University of New York at Buffalo) “The Epistemology of Infidelity in Gotfrit’s Tristan



IV. Science, Law and History: Medieval German Didactic Literature

Session Chair: Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens)


Michaela Wiesinger (Universität Wien, IFK) “Teaching the Unknown. Cosmological Concepts in Didactic Literature of the 13th Century


Mary Campbell (Princeton University) “Reinhard Fuchs, Legally Revolutionizing Tierepos


Alana King (Princeton University) “Medievalism and Reformation: Matthias Flacius Illyricus as Medievalist” Winner of the SMGS Prize for Best Abstract Submitted By a Graduate Student




ew Books Roundtable

Moderator: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)


William Layher (Washington University in St. Louis) presents his book Queenship and Voice in Medieval Northern Europe (Palgrave McMillan, 2010).


SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo 2011.




The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2011

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.  Our recipient for 2011 will be Alana King (Princeton University) for her submission “Medievalism and Reformation: Matthias Flacius Illyricus as Medievalist” We are very much looking forward to her presentation in SMGS Session IV at Kalamazoo 2011.




New Books Received for SMGS Review

William Layher (Washington University in St. Louis), Queenship and Voice in Medieval Northern Europe. New York: Palgrave McMillan 2010. 248 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-230-10465-5.


Ann Marie Rasmussen (Duke University) and Sarah Westphal-Wihl (Washington University in St. Louis), Ladies, Whores, and Holy Women: A Sourcebook in Courtly, Religious, and Urban Cultures of Late Medieval Germany, In: Medieval German Texts in Bilingual Editions, V, Introductions, Translations, and Notes by Ann Marie Rasmussen and Sarah Westphal-Wihl. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications 2010. 155 pp. ISBN: 978-3-1-58044-151-3.




SMGS Reviews

Peter Dinzelbacher, Lebenswelten des Mittelalters. Badenweiler: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Bachmann, 2010. 562 pp. 177 illustrations.  


For those who earned their doctorates in the final decades of the past century, the work of the celebrated historian Arno Borst, especially his Lebensformen im Mittelalter (Propyläen Verlag, 1973), attained a near canonical status. His thematic dichotomy of Condicio Humana and Societas Humana provided a perspective of medieval life as inspiring as it was useful. For the current generation of aspiring medievalists—and those already serving the profession, the new book by Peter Dinzelbacher, Lebenswelten des Mittelalters, offers a contemporizing, fresh look at familiar topics encompassing circa 1000 to 1500.  The reader will welcome the pictorial dimension of this study: “Dabei ist es wichtig, sich bewußt, zu machen, daß die aus jener Zeit überkommenen Bildquellen genauso informative sind wie die Texte. Aus diesem Grund ist dieser Band im Unterschied zu den meisten analogen mit 177 Illustrationen ausführlich bebildert, von denen etwas die Hälfte hier zum ersten Mal veröffentlicht werden. Sie dienen keineswegs als ‘Aufputz’, sondern sind der schriftlichen Überlieferung gleichgestellte ‘Quellenzitate’. (10) Since medieval studies are intrinsically interdisciplinary and vast in format, it is scarcely possible be acquainted with each of its constituent disciplines. Thus, the inclusion of such a wide range of literary and societal references affords us the opportunity to look beyond the confines of our particular specialty areas. Dinzelbacher methodologically aims to clarify anthropological constants and fundamental societal constructs according to their medieval instantiations as Mentalitätsgeschichte. In doing so, he draws from a compendium of historical and literary sources that inform and entertain through a fascinating synthesis of overarching topics and compelling examples. Although the author casts a wide scholarly net, he still manages to combine breadth and depth. In doing so, he skillfully avoids combining disparate and loosely related sources into a contrived whole. Compelling and coherent in its overall composition, Dinzelbacher’s study provides the reader with a surprisingly diverse range of thematic units. Indeed, it is this diversity that makes this study not only enjoyable to read, but valuable as an interdisciplinary broadening of knowledge within medieval studies.


The author aptly divides his book into seven parts: In the first, Anthropologie, he situates men and women within medieval patriarchal society to ascertain their perception, i.e., mental construct of sexuality and love, family life and old age. Part two, Arbeit und Alltag, affords the reader insight into types of labor in rural and urban contexts, and in particular, attitudes toward work according to its practice and practitioners. Dinzelbacher takes care to juxtapose the drudgery of daily work with the religious feast days that offered respite and relief within the cycle of the Church year. Indeed, this study does not simply offer diverse examples; it does so without the loss of thematic focus—an achievement when one considers the scope of the topic and concomitant dangers to sound scholarship. Part Three, Herrschaft und Recht, has a tripartite structure. The first of these emphasizes rule: its methods, forms and legitimating practices in both the religious and secular spheres. The author accords the second emphasis to ideology in the institution of sacral kingship, theory and symbolic representation as well as propaganda. The third offers the reader a summative overview of the complex medieval construct of law in its secular and religious manifestations. Illustrations from the Sachenspiegel, Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis and lesser known documents lend contour to this section. Dinzelbacher’s explains with admirable clarity the juridical inter-weave of secular and religious concepts and praxis so generic to medieval mentality. Of particular interest to me was the subsection entitled: Gott selber ist das Recht, in which the author details with numerous examples the prevalence of the Old Law notion of ius talionis into the late medieval period. In Part Four, Krieg und Frieden, the author relates not only the interrelation of two seemingly opposite phenomena within their given societal contexts, but also general medieval attitudes and reflections on war and peace. Not surprisingly, the prime justification and explanation for the fortunes of war was almost always religious in both tone and authority. Dinzelbacher does well to outline the progression from Hrabanus Maurus’ ninth-century condemnation of killing in war irrespective of circumstance to papal approval of “Ketzerkreuzzüge” in the thirteenth century, and conversely to Cardinal Nikolaus of Cues’ De pace fidei with its goal of ending religious warfare in perpetuam. Parts Five and Six explore the courtly and academic worlds respectively. The author’s treatment of these two quintessential components of medieval life yields a compendium of salient perspectives and practices. Part Five, Die Höfische Welt, relates the elements that constitute a “court” and “courtly life.” In addition to their depiction via the heroes of courtly romance, there is also the figure of the Wild Mann, who demonstrates ex negativo all that is counter-courtly in demeanor and action. Part Six begins with the exemplum of scholarly knowledge and learned practice throughout the medieval period, namely, St. Jerome. Dinzelbacher take care to differentiate between “Wissen” and “Gelehrsamkeit”: “Wissen muß sich ja nicht auf Bildung im elitären Sinn beziehen, sondern kann ebensogut das für praktischeTätigkeiten nötige Wissen meinen, wie es das ganze Mittelalter hindurch (und vielfach noch heute) allein oder vorzugsweise mündlich und handelnd überliefert wurde” (325-26). In doing so, he explores the ways in which medieval society generally perceived differing types of knowledge and learning, and their practitioners. In Part Seven, Formen der Frömmigkeit, the final and most extensive chapter, the author offers us a thorough exposition of spiritual mental constructs and related manners of conduct. Of particular interest is the section entitled: Medien der Offenbarung, which presents the reader with an entire communicative spectrum from oral instruction to a wide range of artistic expression.


I am pleased to recommend this book to both seasoned medievalists and graduate students alike—indeed to anyone interested in the Middle Ages. I enjoyed and benefited from its wide display of learning—a true work of interdisciplinary medieval studies. The reader may occasionally notice minor typographical errors, but these do not distract from the material and could be easily emended in a second edition. In sum, Peter Dinzelbacher has succeeded well in contributing yet another valuable work to our field.  


Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)



SMGS News from Colleagues


Helmut Brall-Tuchel (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf) has an article on the cultural influence of landscape forthcoming in Mediävistik.


Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona-Tucson) has recently edited The Handbook of Medieval Studies in three volumes for De Gruyter with contributions from numerous colleagues in our field.


Francis G. Gentry (The Pennsylvania State University emeritus / University of Wisconsin-Madison emeritus) has completed editing the English-language version of the Lexicon of the Middle Ages for Brill.


Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) has recently co-edited a new volume on Exile Studies. In Fall 2008, the German Division at SLU hosted a meeting of the North American Society for Exile Studies. Selected papers from the conference, edited by Reinhard Andress, and co-edited by Evelyn Meyer and Gregory Divers, has now appeared entitled: Weltanschauliche Orientierungsversuche im Exil/New Orientations of World View in Exile, Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2010, II. 371.


Olga Trokhimenko (University of North Carolina-Wilmington) and Marcus Stock (University of Toronto) are organizing sessions: (1) Premodern Transformations, (2) Art in Literature – Literature in Art in Medieval and Early Modern Culture, and (3) Motion in Text and Image for YMAGINA (Young Medievalist Germanists in North America) for the Thirty-Firth Annual Conference of the German Studies in Louisville, Kentucky, September 22-25, 2011. Abstracts are welcome.





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 2011.


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

All good wishes from SMGS for 2011!