The Challenge of the Medieval Text: Studies in Genre and Interpretation

By W. T. H. Jackson; Joan M. Ferrante et al. | Go to book overview

15
The Literary Views of
Gottfried von Strassburg

LITERARY CRITICISM of any sort is unusual in medieval writing. When works are cited or discussed, it is usually to help a student to formalize his own endeavors, and the authors used for the purpose are those beyond criticism, that is, the classical writers who have long been canonized. Any mention of contemporary authors is rare and when it occurs at all it is usually inspired by either affection or rancor and does not constitute literary criticism in any real sense of the term. Style or even poetic method is never discussed. There were, of course, numerous "Arts of Poetry" in Latin and in some of the vernaculars but these are works written with the express purpose of providing rules of poetic composition. They are prescriptive, not critical.

In view of this absence of even the most rudimentary literary criticism in the work of contemporaries, it is surprising to find embedded in a courtly romance an apparent digression which seems at first sight to be a review of the present state of the poetic art, complete with all the touchiness and prejudice which one associates with artists talking about their rivals' work. The passage has actually been called "Gottfried's literary criticism" and it is, of course, best known for its caustic references to a writer who is almost certainly Wolfram von Eschenbach. But does the passage in fact constitute literary criticism? Gottfried was not the kind of artist who dropped his theme to make asides, particularly asides of 456 lines. Nor, when the passage is inspected closely, is there much literary criticism in it. Very few authors are mentioned, and, as I hope to show, they are mentioned in a specific order with a very definite purpose in mind. The

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The Challenge of the Medieval Text: Studies in Genre and Interpretation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Publications xiii
  • One Courtly Love 1
  • I - The De Amore of Andreas Capellanus and the Practice of Love at Court 3
  • Notes 12
  • 2 - Faith Unfaithful--The German Reaction to Courtly Love 14
  • Notes 33
  • Two - Lyric 35
  • 3 - Contrast Imagery in the Poems of Friedrich Von Hausen 37
  • Note 48
  • 4 - Persona and Audience in Two Medieval Love-Lyrics 49
  • Note 65
  • 5 - The Medieval Pastourelle as a Satirical Genre 66
  • Notes 79
  • 6 - The Politics of a Poet: The Archipoeta as Revealed by His Imagery 81
  • Notes 101
  • Three - Epic and Drama 103
  • 7 - The Epic Center as Structural Determinant in Medieval Narrative Poetry 105
  • Note 124
  • 8 - Time and Space in the Ludus De Antichristo 125
  • Notes 142
  • Pyrgopolinices Converted: The Boasting Soldier in Medieval German Literature 144
  • Notes 153
  • Four - Allegory and Romance 155
  • 10 - Allegory and Allegorization 157
  • Note 171
  • II - The Nature of Romance 172
  • Notes 182
  • 12 - Problems of Communication in the Romances of Chrétien De Troyes 185
  • Note 196
  • 13 - The Arthuricity of Marie De France 197
  • Notes 217
  • 14 - The Progress of Parzival and the Trees of Virtue and Vice 218
  • Notes 225
  • 15 - The Literary Views of Gottfried Von Strassburg 226
  • Notes 246
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