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Why study the Middle Ages? According to Kent Emery, jr., "[a]rtistic expression, in the strict sense, 'perfects nature,' liberates the human spirit from the 'bare necessities' of its animal and cultural existence, and, moreover, shows 'disdain' for them. So delicate table manners, extravagant fashion, unfunctional architecture, contrived landscapes and gardens, conceited, indirect, and musical speech, ritualized battle, and 'refined love' transform and flaunt the need to eat, wear garments, erect shelters, raise crops, communicate, inflict violence, marry and procreate. The allure of such images and the freedom they signify, as well as the contradictions they entail, were perceived more acutely amidst the physical and cultural realities of medieval life than they are in our own time" (Foreword, in: Margaret Porette, The Mirror of Simple Souls. Trans. by J. C. Marler and Judith Grant [Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999], xii-xiii).
I might want to add that during the Middle Ages the barrier between physical reality and the transcendental was not as strong as today, and most medieval poets, painters, musicians, and other artists had easier access to the ineffable and mystical than today. This makes their works so meaningful for us in the 21st century. - A.C.
Here follow links for medieval literature:
Love in Lit./Arts | Abelard/Heloise | Apollonius | Aucassin et N | Carmina Burana | Chaucer | Chretien de Troyes | Christine de Pizan | Dietrich v.d.Gletze | Fabliaux | Flore and Blanche | Gottfried von S. | Hartmann vA | Herzog Ernst | Hildebrandslied | Hrosvita of G. | Johann v. Tepl | Juan Ruiz | Konrad v. Wb | Mai und Beaflor.1 | Marie de France | Moriz von Craun | Nibelungenlied | Oswald v. W. | Roland | Rolevinck | SGGKnight | Teichner | Walther v.d. Vw | Wittenwiler | Wolfram v. Eschenbach
The next links serve to find general information about the Middle Ages:
|Why History I | Why History II | Arts | Castles | Catalogues | Church | Everyday Life | Fundamentals 2 | German lit. links | Handbook | History | Illustrations | Jews | Literature | Love, Marriage | Manuscripts | Maps | Marriage | Music | Paris | People | Philosophy | Recording MHG | Society | Spain | Spring poems | Violence | Weapons/War | Wine / Winter Poetry | Women
The Middle Ages - Introductory Essay by Albrecht Classen
Address List of Germanists (not quite up-to-date)
Digital Public Library of America (pre-1923 publications)
O'Brien Webpage (with many links)
Zeitschriftenliteratur (including festschriften and doctoral diss.)