Late fifteenth-century travel literature and the perception of the world

The case of Hans von Waltheym (ca. 1422-1479)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The late Middle Ages witnessed an enormous growth of pilgrimage literature, reflecting an intensifying need for individual religious experiences. Although Martin Luther and his compatriots were soon to dismiss and combat the entire saints' cult, and hence pilgrimages, in their move to reform the Catholic Church, these practices enjoyed widespread popularity at the very moment of this impending paradigm shift. In the case of Hans von Waltheym, most of the typical features of these kinds of travel narrative can be observed, but he also signaled subtle but significant changes compared to his contemporaries in his perception of mountainous heights and of the foreign world in its linguistic difference. His account also reveals how much spa and bathing culture was greatly appreciated by a large section of the population already at that time. Waltheym, although he was not a Renaissance man, strikes us as a most attentive and open-minded traveler, still deeply steeped in medieval religious mentality, yet ready for new perceptions and the enjoyment of his material living conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalMedievalia et Humanistica
Volume2017-January
Issue number42
StatePublished - 2017

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Pilgrimage
Travel Literature
Religious Experience
Travel Narratives
Cult
Catholic Church
Living Conditions
Compatriots
Medieval Period
Religion
Martin Luther
Enjoyment
Mentality
Saints
Spa
Renaissance Man
Late Medieval Period
Paradigm Shift
Travellers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

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abstract = "The late Middle Ages witnessed an enormous growth of pilgrimage literature, reflecting an intensifying need for individual religious experiences. Although Martin Luther and his compatriots were soon to dismiss and combat the entire saints' cult, and hence pilgrimages, in their move to reform the Catholic Church, these practices enjoyed widespread popularity at the very moment of this impending paradigm shift. In the case of Hans von Waltheym, most of the typical features of these kinds of travel narrative can be observed, but he also signaled subtle but significant changes compared to his contemporaries in his perception of mountainous heights and of the foreign world in its linguistic difference. His account also reveals how much spa and bathing culture was greatly appreciated by a large section of the population already at that time. Waltheym, although he was not a Renaissance man, strikes us as a most attentive and open-minded traveler, still deeply steeped in medieval religious mentality, yet ready for new perceptions and the enjoyment of his material living conditions.",
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