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Ger 511: Communication and Miscommunication in Middle High and Late Medieval German Literature, Fall 2009
(last updated 8-2-2007)
Instructor: Professor Albrecht Classen
Office: 318 LSB
Office Hour: TT 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., and after appointment
Classroom: Conference Room in LSB 346
Meeting Time: MW 2-3:15 p.m.
One of the key issues affecting modern society seems to be communication, or rather miscommunication. Surprisingly, medieval authors also addressed this issue and dealt with it in multiple fashions. In order to develop a specific focus for our course, we will examine the questions how individual authors dealt with communication and how they projected the ideal of a communicative community, but also what were the causes for the breakdown of society. We will examine our topic from various perspectives, such as female versus male attitudes, the function of discourse, the historical development of the literary examples, the role of the Church, and, above all, the relevance of the human language in a literary world where chaos seems to threaten to undermine all human existence.
Familiarity with a selection of the most important literary texts from the high and late German Middle Ages; a rudimentary ability to read Middle High German; a rough understanding of the historical development of medieval German literature; a clear concept of women’s role in the history of medieval German literature; familiarity with some of the most recent critical studies on our topic; the ability to address the issue of communication from the perspective of medieval literature; insights into the social and cultural history of medieval Germany; critical approaches to a wide range of medieval literary texts in light of communication versus miscommunication.
This year, instead of focusing on the communicative aspect exclusively, we will try to cover as much ground in the history of medieval German lit. as possible, hence the larger text selection.
1. A. Classen, Das deutsche Mittelalter in seinen Dichtungen. 4th ed. (Tucson: Fast Copy, 2009)
2. Frauen in der deutschen Literaturgeschichte: Die ersten 800 Jahre. Ein Lesebuch, ed. A. Classen (New York: Peter Lang, 2000) - I have bought author's copies for this course and can make this available to you at a highly reduced rate
4. Wernher der Gartenaere, Meier Helmbrecht
5. Die deutsche Geschichte im Mittelalter - online at: http://aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu/ger_511_resources .
Please make sure that you do not print out any of these class materials on departmental printers. We do not have the money for that and must strictly appeal to the honor system to abide by this rule.
Secondary Reading (recommended):
Gerd Althoff, Die Macht der Rituale: Symbolik und Herrschaft im Mittelalter (Darmstadt: Primus, 2003).
A. Classen, Verzweiflung und Hoffnung. Die Suche nach der kommunikativenGemeinschaft in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters. Beihefte zur Mediaevistik, 1 (Frankfurt a.M.-et al.: Peter Lang, 2002).
Michael Mitterauer, Warum Europa? Mittelalterliche Grundlagen eines Sonderwegs (Munich: Beck, 2003).
Horst Wenzel, ed., Gespräche - Boten - Briefe. Philologische Studien und Quellen, 143 (Berlin: Schmidt, 1997).
Hilkert Weddige, Mittelhochdeutsche: Eine Einführung (Munich: Beck, 1996).
See also the bibliography to be handed out in class.
1. One critical summary of at least two recent scholarly articles on one of our texts discussed in class: oral report (ca. 10-15 minutes) and written summary, ca. 4 pp.: 20% - anytime throughout the semester
2. One introduction to a time period (see the link online): oral delivery and written summary (ca. 15 minutes): 20%
3. One bibliography for your specific term paper topic: written, to be distributed and discussed in class: 20%
4. One term paper: ca. 15 pages, double spaced, 1" margins: 40% (I would prefer the paper to be written in German, but a combination would also be alright). Develop a good thesis, support it with solid arguments, and reach a convincing conclusion. Incorporate at least 5 outside sources of high scholarly value for your discussion.
Ph.D. students are expected to pursue their research more profoundly and offer a more extensive perspective based on a critical engagement with the relevant research literature.
Attendance: I expect you to attend all classes. Only serious circumstances and professional reasons would justify an excuse.
All holidays or special events observed by organized religions will be honored for those students who show affiliation with that particular religion. Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean's designee) will be honored.
The policy against plagiarism, etc., is in conformity with the Student Code of Academic Integrity. For policies against threatening behavior by students, see: http://policy.web.arizona.edu/~policy/threaten.shtml
Students with special needs who are registered with the S.A.L.T. Center (http://www.salt.arizona.edu) or the Disability Resource Center (http://drc.arizona.edu) must submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting special accommodations.
Suggested additional Reading List, which should also serve you to prepare for the Master Exam:
1. Hartmann von Aue: Erec and/or Iwein
2. Nibelungenlied and Kudrun
3. Gottfried von Strassburg: Tristan
4. Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival and Willehalm -
5. Wernher der Gartenære: Meier Helmbrecht
6. some texts from Der Stricker
7. Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim
8. Mechthild von Magdeburg: Das fließende Licht der Gottheit
9. Hildegard von Bingen (Alex Holznienkemper)
10. Argula von Grumbach
11. Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg
12. Johannes von Tepl, Ackermann
13. Sebastian Brant: Narrenschiff
14. Konrad von Würzburg, Engelhard
15. Elisabeth von Nassau-Saarbrücken (one of her four novels)
16. Thüring von Ringoltingen, Melusine
19. Herzog Ernst
20. Oswald von Wolkenstein
21. Heinrich Kaufringer (Auswahl)
23. Heinrich Wittenwiler: Ring
24. Mai und Beaflor
25. Moriz von Craun
Aug. 24 and 26: Introduction; Historical and Cultural Time Frame of the Middle Ages
Aug. 31: Library visit
Sept. 2 and 9: Geschichte: 1.3; Hildebrandslied; Ludwigslied; Zaubersprüche
Sept. 14 and 16: Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim
Sept 21 and 23:Geschichte: 1.4 and 1.5; Hildegard von Bingen
Sept. 28 and 30: Geschichte: 1.6; Nibelungenlied
Oct. 5 and 7: Nibelungenlied
Oct. 12 and 14: Nibelungenlied
Oct. 19 and 21: Geschichte: 1.7; Walther von der Vogelweide
Oct. 26 and 28: Geschichte: 1.8; Wolfram von Eschenbach: Titurel
Nov. 2 and 4: Geschichte: 1.9; Die Winsbekin
Nov. 9 and 11: Geschichte: 1.10; Helmbrecht
Nov. 16 and 18 : Geschichte: 1.11; Mechthild von Magdeburg and Helene Kottannerin
Nov. 23 (Nov. 25 preparation day for term paper): Oswald von Wolkenstein
Nov. 30and Dec. 2: Geschichte: 1.12; Elisabeth von Nassau-Saarbrücken
Dec. 7 and 9: Geschichte1.13; Till Eulenspiegel
Term Paper: due on Dec. 11, 2009