Love, Sex, and Marriage in Late Medieval German Verse Narratives, Lyric Poetry, and Prose Literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the late German Middle Ages literary documents reveal a new interest in love, sex, and marriage. Almost all literary genres contain examples of outspoken descriptions of sexual intercourse, either within or outside of marriage. In this article representative pieces from the codex Karlsruhe 408, lyric poetry by Oswald von Wolkenstein, Johannes von Tepl's Der Ackermann aus Böhmen, Heinrich Wittenwiler's Der Ring, and several Volksbücher are used as evidence for this novel interest in eroticism. Although we discover in cases such as the Volksbücher attempts to restructure the torn screen between audience and the private sphere of the protagonists, overall the element of intimacy is brought into public light. Instead of secret voyeurism, a drastic and uninhibited interest in the topic of sex dominates this body of late medieval literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-83
Number of pages21
JournalOrbis Litterarum
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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