Nr. 35, Fall/Winter 2012/13

Dear Colleagues,

The Society for Medieval Germanic Studies is delighted to be sponsoring five sessions at the 48th Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo May 9-12, 2013. We wish to thank our SMGS Organizers, Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) and Alexander Sager (University of Georgia, Athens) for their time and considerable efforts in assembling yet another exciting program for us.

Table of Contents

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2013

New Books Roundtable

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2013

New Books Received for SMGS Review

SMGS Review

News from Colleagues


SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2013

Organizers: Alexander Sager (University of Georgia at Athens),

                   Evelyn Meyer (St. Louis University)


I. In Memory of Ulrich Müller

Fluid Texts and Literary Traditions in Medieval Germany

Presider: Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand (Appalachian State University)

Erik Born (University of California, Berkeley) “Der Wechsel: Forms of Dialogue and Media of Exchange” Winner of the SMGS Prize for Best Abstract Submitted By a Graduate Student

Kenneth Fockele (University of California, Berkeley) “dum se vertit et bipertit motus in contrarios: The Divided Subject in Twelfth-Century Latin and Middle High German Love Lyric”

Jonathan Green (Brigham Young University-Idaho)

“Rupescissa in the Reformation: Fluid Texts and the Boundaries of the Middle Ages”


II.  Medieval German Narrative Literature I: Games, Wagers, Pursuits


Presider: Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

Tina Boyer (Wake Forest University) “Power Play: Chess, Religion and Politics in Medieval German Narratives”

Will Hasty (University of Florida) “Gaming the Court: Adventure and Love as Cultural Wagers in the Courtly Romances”

Markus Greulich (University of Paderborn) “The Hidden Treasures of Penefrec, or: Why Descriptio(n) is Sex(y)”

III.  Medieval German Narrative Literature II: Questions of Origin, Justice, Interest


Presider: Rasma Lazda (University of Alabama)

Markus Stock (University of Toronto) “Settings of Origin: Parzival, Tristan, Achilles”

Christopher Liebtag Miller (University of Toronto) “Grim Judgment: Decapitation as Vengeance and Correction in Middle High German Literature”

Albrecht Classen (University of Arizona) “Triviality in the Middle Ages? The Case of The Pleier’s Meleranz”


IV. In Memory of Ulrich Müller

Words to the Wise: Wisdom, Mentorship and Friendship in Medieval German Literature


Presider: Rebecca LR Garber (CHEMAS Group)

Christian Schneider (University of Heidelberg / Washington University)

“The Playing Wisdom: On the Concept of sapientia in Johannes von Tepl’s Der Ackermann”

Claire Taylor Jones (University of Notre Dame) “Wherever Two Are Gathered In His Name: Female Friendship and Mentorship in the Gottesfreundliteratur

Evelyn Meyer (St. Louis University) “Words to the (Un)Wise: Herzeloyde’s Mentorship of Sigune”

New Books Roundtable


Moderator: Alexander Sager (University of Georgia at Athens)


Karina Marie Ash (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität) presents her book Conflicting Feminities in Medieval German Literature, Surrey (UK): Ashgate 2012. 260 pp.


SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo 2013.

The Sidney M. Johnson Award for 2013

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 2013 will be Erik Born (University of California at Berkeley) for his submission “Der Wechsel: Forms of Dialogue and Media of Exchange” We are very much looking forward to his presentation in SMGS Session I at Kalamazoo 2013.

New Books Received for SMGS Review


Helmut Brall-Tuchel (Heinrich-Heine Universität-Düsseldorf) Wallfahrt und Kulturbegegnung. Das Rheinland als Ausgangspunkt und Ziel spätmittelalterlicher Pilgerreisen. In: Schriften des Heimatvereins der Erkelenzer Lande e.V. 2012. Vol. 26. ISBN: 978-3-9815182-1-4.   


Carl P.E. Springer (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville), Luther’s Aesop, Kirksville: Truman State University Press, 2011. 249 pp. ISBN: 978-1-61248-068-8.

Joseph Salmons, (University of Wisconsin at Madison), A History of German: What the Past Reveals about Today’s Language, Oxford Press, 2012.

SMGS Reviews

Albrecht Classen (Ed.), Handbook of Medieval Studies, Terms-Methods-Trends. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2010. Vols. 1-3. 2736 pp.


Reminiscent of a medieval chronicle as historia universalis, the Handbook of Medieval Studies chronicles our world as medievalists. It is our story. Albrecht Classen has successfully edited a well-organized and accessible compendium of information useful to experienced medievalists, graduate- and undergraduate students alike. The editor aptly introduces the rationale: “The goal pursued in this Handbook does not consist in an attempt to complete with such seminal reference works as the Lexikon des Mittelalters or Dictionnaire de Spiritualité. Instead, the question pursued here focuses on how individual subject matters have developed in historical-scholarly terms over time. What were the various methodological approaches to specific themes, and what source materials were regarded as most relevant? What primary documents have been seen as truly relevant at what time and by whom for what purposes? In fact, all theses questions allow us to probe not only further into the history of the Middle Ages at large, they also facilitate a much better understanding of how we have learned to understand the medieval world form our modern perspectives, if not how we have misunderstood it.”(XVII) The thematic organization that shapes and contains such a large and disparate undertaking consists of four categories: (1) topics germane to individual disciplines, (2) specific terms influential in Medieval Studies, e.g., curialitas, game, satire, etc., (3) a range of “textual genres,” and (4) major scholars from the founding period of Medieval Studies to circa 1950. As a reader, I found this thematic orientation to be very helpful in approaching what might have otherwise been simply a collection of disparate articles. Accordingly, the three volumes of the Handbook correspond in kind with a modicum of overlapping that is unavoidable with such a massive project.

Following the introduction, readers will be pleased to find an excellent overview of related works, namely, the “Survey of Fundamental Reference Works in Medieval Studies.” Every scholar in the field is certain to benefit from the addition of this section. Ulrich Müller once observed that without a survey up front, it is often difficult for the reader to contextualize and place a new study in relation to its predecessors and surrounding works. The editor has done well in its inclusion.

As a medievalist whose expertise is chiefly limited to German and Latin literature, I was delighted to be introduced to areas of which I either knew nothing of or very little. One scarcely considers a three-volume tome to be inviting, but readers may well find this Handbook as enriching as it is deservedly humbling. A review cannot pay tribute to every contribution in a collaboration of this scale. To my surprise, I enjoyed the entire collection and found myself enlightened by the vastness and depth of medieval studies in general, and the dedication of so many colleagues in specialty areas other than my own. There are many individual articles that deserve greater mention than this review can accommodate. A cursory mention of but a few of many valuable contributions in areas related to the German Middle Ages would include the following: Ulrich Müller on “Performance of Medieval Texts,” “Trobadors, Trouvères, Minnesinger” and “Medievalism”; Francis G. Gentry on “German Studies”; Albrecht Classen on “Communication” as well as “Dictionaries/Glossaries”; Salvatore Calomino on “Folklore in Medieval Studies”; Siegrid Schmidt on “Medievalism in Modern Children’s Literature” and “Museums and Exhibitions”; Debra Stoudt on “Mysticism” and Stephen Mark Carey on “Baktinian Discourse Theory, Heteroglossia” and “Fictionality”; Scott Pincikowski on “Violence” and “Body”; James Rushing on “Text and Image in the Middle Ages”;  Maurice Sprague on “Deconstruction in Medieval Studies,” “Game” and “Minnereden”; Graeme Dunphy on “Chronicles”; Rosmarie Thee Morewedge on “Lapidaries” and “Proverbs”; David F. Tinsley on “Sisterbooks” and Maria E. Dorniger on “Travelogues.”  In addition, readers are sure to find of interest the articles by Peter Dinzelbacher on “Eschatology” and “Religious Studies (The Latin West)” as well as two contributions by Brian Murdoch on “Cornish Literature” and “Bibles (Popular). Many readers may recall with pleasure the sense of discovery that surrounds the book exhibitions at Kalamazoo and Leeds or is to be found by attending a talk outside one’s area of expertise on the final day. I was pleased to experience much the same academic excitement in the Handbook.

In sum, together with fellow medievalists, Albrecht Classen has contributed a valuable work, one that is sure to nurture our profession for years to come. I can recommend the Handbook of Medieval Studies for library acquisition and private scholarly endeavors without reservation. I personally enjoyed all three volumes of the Handbook for it recounts and commemorates the story of medieval studies—our story.

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

SMGS News from Colleagues


Helmut Brall-Tuchel (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf) has edited a collection of articles: Wallfahrt und Kulturbegegnung, Das Rheinland als Ausgangspunkt und Ziel Spätmittelalterlicher Pilgerreisen, with a contributing article of his own, “Unterwegs im Heiligen Land. Rheinische Pilgerberichte des 14. Jahrhunderts zwischen Tradition und Augenschein,” 143-87. In: Schriften des Heimatsvereins der Erkelenzer Lande e.V., 2012.

Stephen Mark Carey (University of Minnesota-Morris) has a new tenure-track position in the University of Minnesota system.

Evelyn Meyer (Saint Louis University) is currently on sabbatical research leave at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg for the academic year 2012-13.

Sibylle Jefferis (University of Pennsylvania) has organized three sessions for the International Congress on Medieval Studies for 2013. Two sessions are sponsored by the Oswald-von-Wolkenstein Gesellschaft in Memory of Joachim Bumke.                               I. Hartmann von Aue: Erek, Iwein, Gregorius, Der arme Heinrich, die Klage, Lyrik

II. Wolfram von Eschenback: Parzival, Willehalm, Titurel, Lieder

III. One special session: Low German Medieval Literature: Legends, Drama, Epics, Translations, and Others.

Sieglinde Hartmann (Universität Würzburg) has invited colleagues to an International and Interdisciplinary Convocation on the theme “Das Geistliche Spiel des europäischen Spätmittelalters,” April 3-6, 2013 at the Stift Admont, Steiermark. She also has a new contribution to our field: Deutsche Liebeslyrik vom Kürenberger bis zu Oswald von Wolkenstein oder die Erfindung der Liebe im Mittelalter. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2012 (=Einführung die die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters, Vol. 1).

Alison Beringer (Montclair State University), Katja Altpeter-Jones (Lewis and Clark College) and Claire Taylor Jones (University of Notre Dame) are organizing sessions: (1) Behind Prison Walls, (2) Global Stories in the German Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, and (3) Representations: The Visual in the Verbal and Vice Versa for YMAGINA (Young Medievalist Germanists in North America, for the Thirty-Seventh Annual Conference of the German Studies in Denver, Colorado, October 3-6, 2013. Abstracts are welcome by Friday, February 1st, 2013 with a brief CV.

(e-mail submissions only). Please send abstracts and CVs to all the organizers:

Dr. Alison Beringer, Department of Classics and General Humanities, Montclair State University,

Dr. Katja Altpeter-Jones, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Lewis and Clark College,

Dr. Claire Taylor Jones, Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures,

University of Notre Dame,

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

We wish to thank our new 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 by 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 early May 2013.

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

All good wishes from SMGS for 2013!