This article explores the question as to how and when tombs in medieval narrative texts can be viewed as ‘third spaces’ that are used in order to define relations between members of different religious communities. In Wolfram von Eschenbach’s ‘Parzival’ and ‘Willehalm‘ as well as in Wirnt von Grafenberg’s ‘Wigalois’ tombs and the spaces around these tombs are presented as places where Christians and ‘Heathens’ negotiate their coexistence. In ‘Parzival’, for example, Gahmuret’s tomb is a memorial to a shared past that does not cause any future cooperations. In ‘Willehalm’ the burials of members of both groups demonstrate the present need to strictly distinguish between the religious spheres. In ‘Wigalois’, however, a ‘heathen’ princess’s tomb becomes a place in which new alliances can be formed. It can thus be considered a ‘third space’–if only temporarily. Moreover, it illustrates how a narrative text about the encounter between religious and worldly semiotic systems integrates Christian imperatives but also uses them in order to create new norms of courtly existence.


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pp. 21-42
Launched on MUSE
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