Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Virginal. Goldemar

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Virginal. Goldemar

Article excerpt

Virginal. Goldemar, ed. Elisabeth Lienert, Elisa Pontini, and Katrin Schumacher, Texte und Studien zur mittelhochdeutschen Heldenepik 10/I-III (Berlin and Boston, Mass.: De Gruyter, 2017). x + 476 pp.; viii + 292 pp.; viii + 102 pp. ISBN 978-3-11-047678-1. €229.99. Virginal is a vigorously narrated Middle High German epic in thirteen-line rhymed strophes, recounting the enfances of Dietrich of Bern and his companions. It tells the tale of the journey to the castle of Queen Virginal of Jeramunt, interrupted by battles with a variety of dragons and giants, including Dietrich's defeat by the giant Wicram, his escape with the help of a maiden from imprisonment, and the heroes' victory over the giants in a series of eleven single-combat encounters. Three distinct versions, deriving from an original composition from the mid- or later thirteenth century, are preserved, each surviving complete in a single fifteenth-century manuscript (although there are also ten fragmentary witnesses). The Heidelberg, Dresden, and Vienna versions diverge greatly from one another. In the versions contained in the 'Dresdner Heldenbuch' (V, 130 strophes, datable to 1472-80) and 'Lienhart Scheubels Heldenbuch' in Vienna (V , 861 strophes, datable to 1480-90) the poem ends with Dietrich's marriage to Queen Virginal, whereas in the longer Heidelberg version, a product of the Diebold Lauber workshop (V, 1097 strophes, datable to 1444-8), the work is concluded by Dietrich's return home to Italy when news reaches him that the city of Bern (Verona) is under siege. …

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