Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Suche Nach Wahrheit: Gottfrieds 'Tristan Und Isold' Als Erkenntniskritischer Roman

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Suche Nach Wahrheit: Gottfrieds 'Tristan Und Isold' Als Erkenntniskritischer Roman

Article excerpt

Rüdiger Schnell, Suche nach Wahrheit: Gottfrieds 'Tristan und Isold' als erkenntniskritischer Roman, Hermaea: Germanistische Forschungen, N. F. 67 (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1992). vi + 273 pp. ISBN 3-484-15067-x. DM 9z.

Rüdiger Schnell's book makes an oddly muddled attempt to resolve the question of the relationship in Gottfried's Tristan between excursus and narrative (pp. 13-56). Schnell believes that the society addressed in the commentaries is different from the society depicted in the story: 'Die Gesellschaft in den Exkursen ist... eine andere als in der Handlung' (p. 27). While society in the story is corrupt and aligns itself with publicly defined standards of conduct ('Außennormen) to condemn the lovers, the society of the excursus respects the lovers and accepts the subjectively determined moral criteria (Innennormen) by which they live: 'Diese Gesellschaft akzeptiert das Handeln nach Innennormen' (p. 27). It follows Abelard in assuming that it is the intention with which an act is carried out that is the measure of moral goodness or evil (pp. 166-95), and so finds the lovers exemplary: 'Die "Innenwelt" der Liebenden Tristan und Isold zeugt von nachahmenswerter Vorbildlichkeit' (p. 25). But here Schnell gets himself into difficulties. Just as there are two societies in Tristan, there are, he thinks, two sets of lovers. Unlike Tristan and Isold in the story, the lovers introduced into the commentaries are concerned to make their relationship socially acceptable, 'indem sie von vornherein versuchen, ihr Liebesverhalten auf die Akzeptanz der Gesellschaft auszurichten, d.h. so zu leben, daß ma%e und ere nicht verletzt werden' (p. ?8). So Tristan and Isold are not really exemplary after all. According to Schnell, the message of Gottfried's text is that it is both possible and necessary to reconcile and harmonize their private moral code with the public moral code of feudal society: 'Einzelne[r] und die Gemeinschaft haben sich aufeinander zuzubewegen und zu einer Harmonie von Innen- und Außennormen zu finden' (p. 48).

, On this reading, even the return of the lovers from their cave to Marke's court does not dramatize a conflict of values and perceptions, but merely reinforces the vague moral imperative that love must somehow be integrated into society: 'Die Rückkehr aus der Minnegrotte in die Hofgesellschaft zeigt die Notwendigkeit einer Integration der intentionalen Minneethik in die gemeinschaftliche Ordnung an' (p. …

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