Witwen in der Deutschen und Europäischen literatur des Mittelalters: Neue perspektiven zu einem kulturhistorischen thema

Translated title of the contribution: Widows in German and European literature of the Middle Ages: New perspectives on a cultural historical topic

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Abstract

Contrary to the general opinion by previous research that widows played only a subdued role in the history of German medieval literature, this article demonstrates that the opposite was often the case. Focusing on Diu Klage, Kudrun, and Mai und Beaflor, among other texts, this investigation brings to light that the authors, and so also their audiences, mostly considered the widow, especially when she held the rank of queen, as the most powerful and respectful person in the country. The testimony of late-medieval German literature, however, suggests that since 1400 a profund change took place. Since then we come across basically only widows as rulers who need help by the men and experience many tragedies and dangers undermining their political position.

Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)197-232
Number of pages36
JournalEtudes Germaniques
Volume57
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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