Nr. 32, Spring 2011

Dear Colleagues,

The Society for Medieval Germanic Studies is delighted to sponsor five sessions at the 46th Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo in May 2011. We wish again to thank Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) and Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens), for organizing another exciting program for us this year at Kalamazoo.

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  

Session I  Thursday 3:30 p.m. Bernard 211

Communication and Narration in Medieval Arthurian Romance:

Presider: Susanne Hafner (Fordham University)

“Doch sag ich dir ein Maere: Histoire and Discourse in Hartmann’s Iwein

Markus Greulich (Universität Wien)

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

Jeffrey Turco (Purdue University)

“The Epistemology of Infidelity in Gotfrid’s Tristan

Jerold C. Frakes (State University of New York-Buffalo

Session II Friday 10:00 a.m. Valley 1, 106

Hôher êren pflegen: A Session in Honor of Ed Haymes

Presider: Ray M. Wakefield (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities)

“Siegfried the Blue-Helmet:  Negotiating the Germanic Heroic Ethos in Nibelungenlied Adaptations of Wolfgang Hohlbein and Thorsten Dewi”

Kevin Richards (Ohio State University)

“Daz sol iuch unverdaget sîn: The Language of Hiding and Revealing in the Nibelungenlied

Jon Sherman (Northern Michigan University)

“Richard Wagner’s Wieland der Schmied”

Danielle Buschinger (Univ. de Picardie-Jules Verne, and Galina Baeva, Sankt Petersburger Staatliche Univ.)

Session III Saturday 1:30 p.m. Schneider 1135

Working Theology in Medieval German Literature

Presider: Evelyn Meyer  (Saint Louis University)

“Kissing the Pagan: Unity, Identity, and the Failure of Metaphysical Community in Willehalm

Claire Taylor Jones (University of Pennsylvania)

“Nehain lip wane Christ unde daz Wip: Negotiating Feminine Narrative Space in Ava’s Daz Leben Jesu

Joshua Davis (University of Montana)

“Liturgical Symbolism in Parzival”

J.A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv. (Saint Louis University)

Session IV Saturday 3:30 p.m. Schneider 1135

Science, Law, and History: Medieval German Didactic Literature

Presider: Alexander Sager (University of Georgia)

Teaching the Unknown: Cosmological Concepts in Didactic Literature of the Thirteenth Century”

Michaela Wiesinger (Universität Wien/Internationales Forschungszentrum)

Reinhard Fuchs, Legally Revolutionizing Tierepos

Mary Marshall Campbell (Princeton University/University of Notre Dame)

“Medievalism and Reformation: Matthias Flacius Illyricus as Medievalist”

Alana King (Princeton University) Recipient of the Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2011

New Books Roundtable

Presider: Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens)

William Layher (Washington University in Saint Louis) presents his significant contribution to our field:

Queenship and Voice in Medieval Northern Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Friday evening 8:00 p.m.

SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo in 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.  The recipient for this year is Alana King (Princeton University) for her submission “Medievalism and Reformation: Matthias Flacius Illyricus as Medievalist.” We are looking forward to her presentation at SMGS Session 4, Saturday 3:30 p.m. in Schneider 1135.

New Books Received for SMGS Review

Ulrich Müller – Gesammelte Schriften zur Literaturwissenschaft, (eds.) Margarete Springeth, Gertraud Mitterauer, Ruth Weichselbaumer, 4 vols. Kümmerle Verlag, Göppingen 2010.  ISBN: 978-3-86758-005-2

Handbook of Medieval Studies – Terms – Methods – Trends, (ed.) Albrecht Classen,

3 vols. De Gruyter, Berlin/New York, 2010. ISBN: 978-3-11-018409-9

SMGS Reviews

William Layher, Queenship and Voice in Medieval Northern Europe: New York, Palgrave Macmillan,  2010, 237. 1 map, 3 lineage charts. ISBN 978-0-230-10465-5

Following his Harvard dissertation in 1999, William Layher (Washington University in St. Louis) has completed a new study, one that Universities in German-speaking lands would most certainly classify as Habilitationsschrift. His book provides us with an instrumentarium for assessing the medieval perspective of vox exemplified in the exercise of “lordship” by three Scandinavian queens-Agnes of Denmark, Euphemia of Norway, and Margareta of Denmark. In dealing with threats to their authority, whether by the death of the king and the ensuing power vacuum of his silence or through dynastic ambition, each of the queens had to rely on her use of “voice” for political survival and a measure of security. Layher’s approach yields valuable and often surprising insights by offering an alternative perspective to the “gaze” as an agency of power. In doing so, he reconstitutes the auditory dimension of lordship / “queenship”-a dimension under-researched in contemporary scholarship, yet powerfully effectual in medieval practice. Indeed, the recent film, The King’s Speech, echos this very fascination and with “voice” as political agency. Yet, the legitimacy of Edward VI was never in question. As such, his “voice” was only a pale echo of the subtlety, strategizing and calculation required in the thirteenth- and fourteenth century courts of the women above. Perhaps their counterpart would more likely have been Elizabeth I of England and her unending struggle against intrigues from within and foreign threats from without. In his study, the author deals with how the three queens sought and discovered their “voice” as rulers by means of literary patronage, and literature itself as a medium for consolidating and magnifying their authority.

The author does well in framing his study in a clear, concise introduction:

“This book presents evidence confirming the importance of auditivity as a mode of cultural and historical analysis. This approach, it is granted, must grapple with a number of serious methodological challenges that visuality does not face. Although vision, too, is a physiological process that is culturally constructed and not fully recoverable, there is a wealth of material culture still before our eyes. We can look at these items and reconstruct their value in medieval economies of visuality and vision, pondering the degree of overlap between the medieval gaze and the modern. For sound, such direct mediation is impossible. And yet, through a careful interrogation of literary texts produced for courtly audiences in medieval Scandinavia, we can evaluate how hearing-or more directly, how the process of listening (as a kind of attuned hearing)-functioned as an acoustic equivalent to “the gaze” in medieval Europe.” (4-5)

With emphasis placed on “listening” rather than merely hearing (an important differentiation even today), the author grounds this distinction and the rationale for his study in antique and medieval definitions of what constitutes “voice” and, accordingly, its complement in “listening.” Following Aristotle’s De Anima, Layher aptly distinguishes between vox as intelligible, rational “voice” and sonus as mere “noise.” Yet, in accord with good scholarship, he does not rely solely on this fundamental definition, but traces its subtle variants over time via Boethius, Albertus Magnus, and his renowned student, Thomas Aquinas. The voice is then an “ensouled sound” that conveys not only the spirit but also the physical dimension of the speaker herself as a powerful force of royal female agency, especially in the vernacular. Layher also makes elegant use of contemporary theories of voice such as that of Mladen Dolar’s construct of “the listening Other,” a notion closely aligned with Lacanian theory and capable of teasing meaning out of the complicated multilingual culture of medieval Scandinavian courts. The author’s study provides us with fascinating instances in the life of each of the three queens. With regard to Eufemia’s voice and the Norwegian court, Layher observes:

“The premise of this book holds that there was a great deal of political advantage to be won in the thirteenth- to fifteenth-century northern Europe in the manner in which the queen’s voice is made audible: in which literary forms, through which intermediaries, and in which idiom. Let us consider, for example, the decision of Queen Eufemia of Norway to sponsor the translation of courtly romances into Old Swedish rather than Old Norwegian, the language of her court. Here the cultural power of the queen’s literary patronage is embedded in a corpus of romances that through their use of a foreign vernacular are made strange to the courtiers of the Oslo court. The works-among them a version of Chrétien’s Yvain and the Old French Flores och Blanzeflor-are quite literally in the wrong voice. At the same time, however, the Old Swedish versification used in these romances is suffused with an ideological and cultural resonance that is highly attractive to the Swedish noblemen whom Eufemia seeks to win as potential suitors for her infant daughter. On the one hand Eufemia’s sponsorship of a translation into Old Swedish represents a deliberate estrangement, an improper utilization of the royal vox that neglects the prevailing idiom of her court. Her allegiances, it is plain to hear, are suspect; the voice of sovereignty has been devalued. But seen from the opposite side of the equation, from the perspective of the Swedish nobility, the Eufemiavisor function as the vehicle for a new and politically engaging vox that draws the ear-and the political goodwill-of a new audience of influential courtiers that are attuned to its significance.” (47) The “listening Other” is then the Swedish nobility, whose auditors constituted potential suitors, attuned to Eufemia’s trans-cultural overture as mediated in their own vernacular.

The author also provides compelling examples of the use of voice for the remaining two queens: Margareta of Denmark in her “political instrumentalization” of both the mystical prophecy of St. Birgitta and the Old Swedish allegorical poem, King Albrecht, in successfully opposing Albrecht III, and after the regicide of 1286, Agnes of Denmark and the act of “voice proxying” in commissioning poems by Rumelant von Sachsen in Middle Low German-her own language as a northern German noblewoman and that of her supporters among the Danish elite at court.

In sum, William Layher has written an important work that promises to benefit methodological reflection on the performance of “voice” and its consequences for gendered identity throughout our field. I can strongly recommend it to you and your upper-level students. We are fortunate to number a scholar of his magnitude among our colleagues.

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

SMGS News from Colleagues

Helmut Brall-Tuchel (Universität Düsseldorf) has contributed a new article, “Emotion und Wahrnehmung – Beobachtungen zur Spruchdichtung Walters von der Vogelweide,” in: Walter von der Vogelweide – Überlieferung, Deutung, Forschungsgeschichte, Sonderdruck 2010, Peter Lang.

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona-Tucson) has just offered a symposium, “Rural Space in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times,” May 5-8, 2011, the latest sequel in his series of international symposia. He also completed editing the imposing project on our history as medievalists: Handbook of Medieval Studies – Terms – Methods – Trends, De Gruyter 2010.

Susanne Hafner (Fordham University) will be teaching a new summer course at Fordham’s London campus this year: “The Knights of the Round Table,” offered through the Center for Medieval Studies. For information contact:

Edward R. Haymes, emeritus (Cleveland State University) has a session dedicated to him for his many contributions to our field and his service as President of SMGS from 1997-2004: SMGS Session 2, Friday 10:00 a.m. in Valley 1, 106.

Best wishes from all our colleagues!

Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania) has edited a new book: Intertextuality, Reception, and Performance: Interpretations and Texts of Medieval German Literature (Kalamazoo Papers 2007-2009). GAG 758. Göppingen: Kümmerle Verlag, 2010. Accordingly several articles: as well: “The Doctor Scene in Wittenwiler’s Ring: The Reception of the Novella Aristoteles und Phyllis“, “The Influence of the Alexius-Legend on the Sigune-Scenes in Wolfram’s Parzival and Titurel“, and “Das Dorotheenspiel und Ein Passienbüchlein von den vier Hauptjungfrauen (einschließlich: Karte der Dorotheenspiele; Stemma der Dorothealegenden; Edition der Dorothealegende aus der Handschrift MS. Germ. Qu. 2025, Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Preußischer Kulturbesitz.”

Saturday 1:30 p.m.

She also organized two sessions sponsored by the Oswald-von-Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft for Kalamazoo this year:

Session 154, Schneider 1225, Thursday 7:30 p.m., Topics in Middle High German Literature. SMGS colleagues presenting are: Max Siller (Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck), Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania), Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona, Tucson), and Volker Mertens (Freie Universität Berlin).

Session 219, Schneider 2345, Friday 10.00 a.m., Low German Medieval Literature: Legends, Drama, Epics, Translations.

Kathleen J. Meyer (Bemidji State University) has a new edition and translation of Ulrich von Zatzikhoven’s work: German Romance IV: Lanzelet, Boydell & Brewer: Rochester, NY. Forthcoming June 2011. ISBN: 978-1-843-84266-8

Ulrich Müller, emeritus (Universität Salzburg) has his extensive contributions to our field now appearing in a four volume collection in the Kümmerle Verlag.  Editors are Margarete Springeth, Ruth Weichselhauer and Gertraud Mitterauer, together with Annemarie Eder and Verena Vitzthum.

He would also like to call our attention to a new, complete translation of the poems of Tannhäuser (Manessische Handschrift). Tannhäuser: Die Gedichte der manessischen Handschrift; Mittelhochdeutsch/Neuhochdeutsch. Introduction, editing and commentary by Maria Grazia Cammarota. Translation by Jürgen Kühnel. Kümmerle Verlag, Göppinger,  2009, 307. ISBN 978-3-86758-004-5. EUR 20.00 (Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik; 749). This is an affordable text that promises to benefit both students and faculty alike.

Once again, our congratulations on his recent emeritus status!

Scott E. Pincikowski (Hood College) is currently a Humboldt Finalist. He is also presenting a paper on: “The Castle Aflame: The Destruction of Architecture and Cultural Memory Making” in Session 527, Sunday 8:30 a.m. in Fetzer 2016.

Gary C. Shockey (Ed.) with Gail E. Finney and Clifford A. Bernd,

Ain güt geboren edel man, A Festschrift for Winder McConnell on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday, Kümmerle Verlag, Göppingen, 2011.

SMGS congratulates Winder McConnell as the only German Medievalist of his generation in America-other than Francis G. Gentry (2003)-to be honored by a Festschrift.

Anton Schwob and Ute Monika Schwob (eds.), Die Lebenszeugnisse Oswalds von Wolkenstein. Gesamtwerk in 5 Bänden, Teilband 4. Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau-Verlag, 2011.

Markus Stock (University of Toronto) has organized two sessions:

Session 527, “Spatial Practices in Medieval German Culture I: Space, Destruction, Seclusion,” Sunday 8:30 a.m., Fetzer 2016, as well as

Session 549, “Spatial Practices in Medieval German Culture II: Epic Spaces,” Sunday 10:30 a.m., Valley II Garneau Lounge. He is also delivering a paper in the 10:30 session on “Space, Place, and Movement in König Rother.”

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

We especially wish to thank our technical expert, Ben Ogden (Truman State University) for his expertise in providing the online version with both readability and elegance. We also wish to thank the Department of Classical & Modern Languages and the School of Arts & Letters at Truman State University for 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 by at or fax (660-785-7486), or write to the following address: Ernst Ralf Hintz, Professor of 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 December 2011.

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

All good wishes for the summer from SMGS!