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Arthurian Romances, Tales, and Lyric Poetry

The Complete Works of Hartmann von Aue

Translated with commentary by Frank Tobin, Kim Vivian, Richard H. Lawson

Publication Year: 2001

Hartmann von Aue (c. 1170-1215) is universally recognized as the first medieval German poet to create world-class literature. He crafted German into a language of refined literary expression that paved the way for writers such as Gottfried von Strassburg, Walther von der Vogelweide, and Wolfram von Eschenbach. This volume presents the English reader for the first time with the complete works of Hartmann in readable, idiomatic English. Hartmann's literary efforts cover all the major genres and themes of medieval courtly literature. His Arthurian romances, Erec and Iwein, which he modeled after Chrétien de Troyes, introduced the Arthurian world to German audiences and set the standard for later German writers. His lyric poetry treats many aspects of courtly love, including fine examples of the crusading song. His dialogue on love delineates the theory of courtly relationships between the sexes and the quandary the lover experiences. His verse novellas Gregorius and Poor Heinrich transcend the world of mere human dimensions and examine the place and duties of the human in the divine scheme of things. Longfellow would later use Poor Heinrich in his Golden Legend. Arthurian Romances, Tales, and Lyric Poetry is a major work destined to place Hartmann at the center of medieval courtly literature for English readers.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Front Cover

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The editors wish to express their deep gratitude to the following persons: Ed Haymes, Jim Walter, and Frank Gentry, for their readings of the manuscript and for their insightful commentary; Dr. Armin Schlechter, director of the Department of Manuscripts at...

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pp. ix-xiii

One of the most enduring legacies of the Middle Ages is the storybook world of bold knights and incomparably fair ladies, a world first and best described by the poets of the age. Their greathearted heroes ride off fearlessly in search of adventure and, though severely tried in the process, nevertheless show their mettle and emerge ultimately victorious, whether the enemy be an evil knight, a wild beast, or a monstrous and magical...

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The Lament

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pp. 1-28

Though a few of Hartmann’s extant lyric poems may have preceded The Lament, scholars agree that it was most likely his first longer work and that it lacks the polish and maturity of his later works. For the modern reader it may prove difficult reading because it is neither narrative nor lyric poetry but belongs, rather, to a genre that has generally...

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Lyric Poetry

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pp. 29-50

Hartmann’s surviving lyric poems, all of which we have translated here, including some of doubtful authorship, treat the themes of what is commonly known as courtly love. The poetry of courtly love is conventional poetry in the sense that in its vocabulary, imagery, and ideas it presupposes a set of meanings and rules which readers must be familiar...

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pp. 51-164

In the third decade of the twelfth century the Welsh (or possibly, Breton) teacher and poet Geoffrey of Monmouth incorporated his earlier Prophetiae Merlini (Prophecies of Merlin) into the expansive, and largely fictional, Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain). One of the kings Geoffrey wrote about was Arthur, a quasi-....

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pp. 165-214

Like the Arthurian epics Erec and Iwein, and possibly also Poor Heinrich, Gregorius is modeled after a French prototype. But whereas the literary ancestry of the Arthurian epics is fairly, though not indisputably...

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Poor Heinrich

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pp. 215-234

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Nothing could seem more heroic or more in line with Christian ideals than this. Yet if we apply...

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pp. 235-322

Hartmann’s Iwein, like his Erec, is a translation of a French Arthurian romance, in this case Yvain (about 1177) by Chrétien de Troyes. Hartmann completed his Iwein, apparently...


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pp. 323-329

Back Cover

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p. 345-345

E-ISBN-13: 9780271053257
E-ISBN-10: 0271053259
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271021126
Print-ISBN-10: 0271021128

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2001