A Companion to the Works of Hartmann von Aue

By Paddock, Mary | German Quarterly, July 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Companion to the Works of Hartmann von Aue


Paddock, Mary, German Quarterly


Medieval Literature and Culture Gentry, Francis G., ed.A Companion to the Works of Hartmann von Aue. Rochester: Camden House, 2005. 291pp. $95.00 hardcover.

It is quite typical for essay collections focusing on a literary figure or era to be uneven in their probity and style. Such is, however, not the case with.4 Com fanion to the Works of Hartmann von Aue. This collection, edited by Francis G. Gentry, is by no means monotonous or monolithic in its approach to issues surrounding the works of Hartmann von Aue, but it conveys a sense of unity and cohesiveness uncommon to this genre. This can no doubt be attributed to the skill of the contributors, most of whom are well-established medieval scholars, but also to the organizational and editing talents of Professor Gentry.

As the reader progresses from one essay to the next-as few but book reviewers usually have the luxury to do-one is struck by the sense of the many layers of cultural and rhetorical complexity that make up the literary oeuvre of Hartmann von Aue and the various scholarly approaches to it. It is thus not surprising, given the emergence in recent years of discussions on, to name a few, gender and the body, visuality, and science in medieval literature, that scholars should "rediscover " Hartmann, and try to make his works available to non-medievalists. Such was the goal of the recent publication of Hartmann's literary corpus in one volume, translated by Frank Tobin (a contributor to the present volume), Kirn Vivian and Richard H. Lawson (Arthurian Romances, Tales and Lyric Poetry: The Complete Works of Hartmann von Aue, 2001); the volume at hand is certainly a contribution to that effort.

This collection offers a comprehensive view of Hartmann's literary corpus as a whole, and a multi-faceted view of several of his individual works. A number of Hartmann's works, most notably Gregarious, EKC, and Derarme Heinrich, are explored in some depth from a variety of different perspectives throughout this collection. Likewise, a reader interested in only one theme or issue is likely to find relevant commentary in more than one of the contributions in this collection because of the subtle interrelatedness of these uniformly well-written articles. In his discussion of Hartmann's distance from contemporary events in Erec, Gentry directly invokes Alois Wolf's article on the role of Britain in the works of Hartmann and Chrétien. …

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