ULRICH VON TÜRHEIM(C. 1210–C. 1260). Known for his continuations of *Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan and *Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Willehalm (Rennewart), Ulrich possibly composed the Cligès fragment mentioned by Rudolf von Ems (Wilhelmvon Orlens). Records of the bishop and Cathedral of Augsburg document Ulrich’s name between 1236 and 1244, though it is uncertain that this individual is the poet. Ulrich worked in the Swabian court of Henry VII and Conrad IV, sons of Holy Roman Emperor *Frederick II. Conrad IV patronized the Willehalm continuation. Other facts surrounding the poet are obscure.
Ulrich’s continuation begins precisely where Gottfried’s formulation ends. In his love for the Blond Isolde, Tristan has failed to consummate his marriage with Kaedin’s sister Isolde, leaving the Arundel family up in arms. Tristan and his brother-in-law return to Tintajel to substantiate that Isolde the Blond is really the more beautiful woman. She wrongly attributes unfaithfulness to Tristan, who appears as a leper, and has him beaten. When he returns to Arundel, Tristan eventually consummates his marriage to Isolde of the Whitehands. He is mortally wounded while assisting Kaedin in the latter’s own love affair, underscoring the disastrous results of immoral love.
Seeking her curative powers, Tristan sends for the Blond Isolde; a white sail signals her presence, black that she has not come. Isolde does arrive, but Isolde of the Whitehands purposely deceives Tristan, and he dies disconsolate. Upon discovering this, the Blond Isolde expires upon his grave. Symbolic of the couple’s love, King Marke buries them in separate marble sarcophagi, planting a rose tree over Tristan’s grave and a grapevine over Isolde’s, which intertwine inseparably in perpetuity.
After 1243, Ulrich continued Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Willehalm in Rennewart. Extant in forty manuscripts, this work consists of 36,500 lines. Fourteen additional renderings bring it together in a Willehalm-cycle following Ulrich
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Publication information: Book title: The Rise of the Medieval World, 500-1300:A Biographical Dictionary. Contributors: Jana K. Schulman - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 423.
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