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Written Communication in the Illustrated Epic Poem

  • Ulrich Ernst
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

In recent years, analyses of medieval literary works by literary scholars have set in motion a wide variety of research on orality and literacy in the period between late antiquity and the modern era.1 New findings have emerged particularly within the context of the medieval culture of writing studies on the long-neglected genre of the Latin figural poem, for example, have moved previously neglected artistic scriptographic practices into medieval scholarship’s field of vision, causing scholars to regard medieval scriptography in a different light.2 In a recent study on the forms of writing in the vernacular epic, I attempted to adjust the dominant view that medieval texts are principally unstable by pointing out examples of systems of textual stabilization, such as that represented by acrostics identifying the author. This study also critically questioned the deep-rooted conception of the supposedly illiterate author by examining an image of Wolfram that is characterized by references to literacy and also cited numerous examples of reading and writing knights and noble ladies in the courtly epic, thereby calling into question the established view of an illiterate laity. Similarly, the study reexamined the idea that people in the Middle Ages never read silently but rather always aloud or in a low voice and that the works of the epic poets were conveyed to the public only through performance at court.3

Keywords

Fifteenth Century Open Book Classical Epic Medieval Literature Sacred Book 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See, for example, Manfred Günter Scholz, Hören und Lesen: Studien zur primären Rezeption der Literatur im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1980)Google Scholar
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    Ulrich Ernst, “Formen der Schriftlichkeit im höfischen Roman des hohen und späten Mittelalters,” FSt 31 (1997): 252–369; compare also Bianca van Melis-Spielkamp, Pragmatische Schriftlichkeit in englischen arthurischen Romanzen (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999).Google Scholar
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  9. 7.
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    Robert Freyhan, Die Illustrationen zum Casseler Willehalm-Codex (Marburg: Verlag des Kunstgeschichtlichen Seminars, 1927), pp. 4 and 9–10; tables 2, 44, 45, and 56.Google Scholar
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    See Ulrich Ernst, “Gottfried von Straßburg in komparatistischer Sicht: Form und Funktion der Allegorese im Tristanepos,” Euphorion 70 (1976): 1–72.Google Scholar
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    Eilhart von Oberg, Tristrant und Isalde, ed. and trans. Danielle Buschinger and Wolfgang Spiewok (Greifswald: Reineke, 1993).Google Scholar
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    Rudolf von Ems, Willehalm von Orlens, ed. Viktor Junk (1905; repr. Dublin: Weidmann, 1967).Google Scholar
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    Douglas Kelly, “Accessus ad auctores,” in Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik, vol. 1 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1992), cols. 28–36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kathryn Starkey and Horst Wenzel 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Ernst

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