Companion to Kalamazoo 2015

Dear Colleagues,
The Society for Medieval Germanic Studies is sponsoring four sessions at the 50th Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo May 9-12, 2015. We wish to thank our SMGS Organizers, Marian Elisabeth Polhill (University of Puerto Rico) and Jeffry Turco (Purdue University) for their time and considerable efforts in assembling this year’s program of new research.

Table of Contents
SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2015
New Books Roundtable
The Sidney M. Johnson/Ulrich Müller Award for 2015
SMGS Review

SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2015
Organizers: Marian Polhill (University of Puerto Rico),
Jeffery Turco (Purdue University)

SMGS sponsored sessions, Kalamazoo 2015

  1. Memory, Text and Image in Medieval German Literature

(Saturday, May 16 10:00 a.m. Session 393 Bernard 213)

Presider: Marian Elizabeth Polhill (University of Puerto Rico-Recinto de Río Piedras)

Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand (Appalachian State University)
Looking for the Join: Memory and the Interfigures of Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein

Scott E. Pincikowski (Hood College): Shaping Cultural Memory at the Interface of Text and Image: The Berlin Manuscript (Ms. germ. fol. 282) of Heinrich von Veldeke’s Eneit

  1. Authority and Control in Medieval German Literature

(Saturday, May 16 1:30 p.m. Session 451 Bernard 212)
Presider: Adam Oberlin (University of Ghent/Bergen)
Mary Marshall Campbell (University of New Hampshire) “Prophecy and Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Germany”
Christopher Liebtag Miller (University of Toronto) “Order in the Court
The Constitution of Authority and the Character of Courtly Office in Medieval German Epic”
Alexander Sager (University of Georgia-Athens) “The Moralizing Watchman in German Dawnsongs from Otto von Botenlauben to Hugo von Montfort”

III. Words and Verses
(Saturday, May 16 p.m. Session 510
Presider: Susanne Haftner (Fordham University)

Adam Oberlin (University of Ghent/Bergen) “Early Yiddish and Late Middle High German Phraseology”

Nelson Goering (University of Oxford) “The Atlakviða, ‘Inverted’ Verses, and the Word-foot Theory of Old Germanic Metre”

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University) “Muspilli: Old High German Justice and Judgment”
New Books Roundtable

(Friday evening at 8:00 in Bernard 211)
Moderator: Jeffry Turco (Purdue University)
Olga V. Trokhimenko presents her book Constructing Virtue and Vice: Femininity and Laughter in Courtly Society (ca. 1150-1300). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Unipress, 2014.

SMGS looks forward to seeing you at this well-received and enjoyable session at Kalamazoo 2015.

The Sidney M. Johnson/Ulrich Müller Award for 2015
SMGS is delighted to announce The Sidney M. Johnson/Ulrich Müller Award for the best abstract submitted to SMGS from a graduate student or former graduate student within one semester of having received a doctorate. This year we have two recipients of equal merit. Our recipients for 2015 will be Mary Marshall Campbell (University of New Hampshire)) for her abstract “Prophecy and Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Germany” and Adam Oberlin (University of Ghent/Bergen) for his submission “Early Yiddish and Late Middle High German Phraseology.” We are looking forward to their presentations in SMGS Sessions at Kalamazoo 2015.

SMGS Reviews

Olga V. Trokhimenko (University of North Carolina at Wilmington) Constructing Virtue and Vice: Femininity and Laughter in Courtly Society (ca. 1150-1300). In: Transatlantic Studies on Medieval and Early Modern Literature and Culture. Vol. 5. ISBN: 978-3-8471-0119-2. V&R unipress, Göttingen, 2014.

(Abridged Review – the complete version appears in our next issue together with subsequent reviews.)

As with all good research in medieval studies, Professor Trokhimenko’s book offers us an innovative way of apprehending courtly culture in its literary and visual representations of women’s laughter and smiling from around 1150 to 1300, i.e., from courtly epic to conduct- and religious educational texts, and visually in the depiction of the wise and foolish virgins from the cathedral portals of Strassburg and Magdeburg. The success of her work derives from a well-researched, well-grounded study of societal behaviors that might easily be rendered by a casual 21st-century observer as banal or trivial, but take on major significance as defining agents of “femininity” when analyzed comprehensively through a medieval lens. She aptly notes: “The treatment of women’s laughter in medieval literature raises a number of compelling questions about the social and cultural context out of which it arose, and about the relation between reality and fiction, ideology and misogyny.” (15) Trokhimenko presents convincing arguments in the five chapters of her book together with an insightful epilogue that calls attention to aspects of medieval tradition in our current society. She begins by discussing the social implications of the “Two ‘mouths’ of a medieval woman” in Heinrich der Teichner’s poem “Von roten muenden” as a lecture on the good manners of (zucht), (scham) and (staeten muet). The exposition on “womanly” virtues includes the admonition that “aristocratic women must learn to recognize their persistent sexualization in love discourse, for men’s words are not always what they appear to be on the surface.” (29) Medievalists will readily appreciate the value of these insights for textual analysis. In the authors words: “The mouth symbolism offers a new dimension for interpreting the connection between laughter and sexual availability; it allows the modern reader to make a mental leap from the former to the latter and discover an additional level of meaning in these old poems, which might otherwise remain unrecognized.” Trokhimenko develops her approach by examining laughter in a variety of medieval contexts such as ecclesiastical discourse, medical perspectives, conduct literature for women, “men’s fantasies and women’s laughter in love lyric,” and “courtly smiling in the iconography of virtue and vice.” On pages (35) and (175) respectively, the author further contributes to our discipline by lending contour and additional precision to some aspects of the now seminal studies by James A. Schultz (Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality, Chicago, 2006) and C. Stephen Jaeger’s (Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950-1200, Philadelphia, 1985). Readers in our discipline will benefit from a solid integration of existing works such as those mentioned above, among others, into her study.

In sum, Olga V. Trokhimenko succeeds well in illuminating the multiple representations of femininity in the portrayal of women’s laughter. The result is clear; we as medievalists have gained a more refined insight into what we may well have overlooked. I am pleased to recommend this book.

Ernst Ralf Hintz (Truman State University)

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 Fall/Winter issue of the SMGS News & Reviews appears in late 2015.

On behalf of Marian Elizabeth Polhill, Jeffry Turco and Ernst Ralf Hintz,
All good wishes from SMGS for summer 2015!