Already in the twelfth century European audiences learned about the later significantly popular account of Floire and Blancheflor which emphasizes the far-reaching impact that deeply erotic emotions can have on political power structures. The Middle High German sentimental version by Konrad Fleck serves here as a platform to analyze how much influence true love could have on the behavior of society at large, influencing it to embrace courtly values and ethics on a large scale. Whereas recent research has mostly focused on the performativity of emotions, here I examine the function of emotions for social and cultural developments. As Fleck demonstrates, when the two young lovers face their certain death at the hand of the Babylonian ruler, they demonstrate so much ardent love for each other that they fight over who would die first. This then moves the despotic Admiral to such an extent, along with all his people, that he lifts the death penalty, allows these two young people to marry, and enters into friendship with the young male protagonist. In fact, he changes his entire outlook on life and behavior, transforming into an almost ideal ruler who would fit right into the courtly world. The analysis demonstrates how much Fleck, similar to his European contemporary writers, advocated the value of emotions for didactic, moral, and even political purposes.
- Cultural bonds with the Orient
- Flore und Blanscheflur
- Konrad Fleck
- Sentimental romance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language
- Literature and Literary Theory