ForewordWhen the volume An Anthology of German Literature 800-1750 by Peter Demetz and the late W.T.H. Jackson first appeared in 1968, it filled a vacuum on the textbook market. Its weaknesses were its omissions as well as its unsatisfactory and often questionable choice of German translations of nineteenth century vintage. Nevertheless, the anthology became the standard anthology for college courses—at times, even beginning graduate students in literary survey and introductory medieval courses had to employ this text. When it went out of print a void was again created a void which this Anthology of Medieval German Literature 800-1500 is intended to fill.
This completely new collection retains the fundamental strengths of the Demetz/Jackson anthology with a new approach, since it combines synoptically arranged original texts with translations done by specialists, in an effort to weld the recent labors of German literary scholars to the demands created by a renewed interest in the Middle Ages. Though some of the primary selections of the Demetz/Jackson anthology were retained, the value of this new anthology lies particularly in its judicious breadth, the result of carefully selected additions of examples from early Middle High German poetry (Rolandslied, the Melker Marienlied, Heinrich von Melk’s "Von des tôdes gehugede "), early native lyrics, both anonymous and named (Der von Kürenberg, Dietmar von Eist, Meinloh von Sevelingen), Reinmar, Hartmann von Aue, enlarged selections from Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein, Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, and Gottfried von Straßburg’s Tristan, «Mären» ("Das Schneekind," extended selections from Helmbrecht and Herzmære), the mystic tradition (Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild von Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, Tauler), Das Osterspiel von Muri, the fifteenth century shrovetide play Ein Vastnachtspil (Keller Nr. 9), the poetry of Oswald von Wolkenstein, and expanded selections from Ackermann aus Böhmen and Reineke Fuchs. Careful line notations will permit continuous referral back to the original to facilitate close analysis and discussion, thus combining an extreme degree of readibility with the kind of critical faithfulness only the original can provide.
Concerning the original texts, no attempt has been made to standardize spelling throughout the anthology; indeed, the reader may even discover discrepancies within individual works of specific authors. However, in each of these instances that edition was chosen which is most widely accepted among scholars of medieval German literature.
I wish to thank the University of Heidelberg Library for the permission to reproduce the miniatures from the Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift, and the following publishers for permission to use copyrighted material:
I would like to convey my special gratitude to the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame for financial support, to the staff of the Theodore M. Hesburgh Library, to my colleagues Randolph J. Klawiter and Nicholas J. Meyerhofer for their tireless efforts, invaluable suggestions and scrutinous reading of the manuscript, to Dino S. Cervigni, Roger Brooks and Susan Wimmer for their kind editorial assistance, John H. Morgan and Mark D. Vande Vere for their faith in the project, and Christian J. Gellinek for writing the preface and for unselfishly offering suggestions, cheerful support and encouragement.
Artemis & Winkler, Benziger Verlag, Walter de Gruyter, Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Eugen Diederichs Verlag, S. Fischer Verlag, Carl Hanser Verlag, Herder Verlag, S. Hirzel Verlag, Insel Verlag, Johannesverlag Einsiedeln, Kümmerle Verlag, Max Niemeyer Verlag, Otto Müller Verlag, Philipp Reclam Verlag, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Karl Wachholtz Verlag, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
It is my fervent hope that this anthology will advance interest in medieval German literature and will offer its readers a deeper understanding of the past.Albert K. WimmerUniversity of Notre DameDespite the widespread acceptance and success of the original 1987 edition of the Anthology of Medieval German Literature, I made some revisions ranging from the correction of typographical errors, the addition of footnotes and a replacement of the Langosch translation of Reineke Fuchs by the more recent and eminently more readable version by H. J. Gernentz to the inclusion of the two most significant representatives of medieval «Frauenmystik», Hildegard von Bingen and Mechthild von Magdeburg. These changes, I think, make the Second Edition more balanced and representative of medieval German literature.March 15, 1991Albert K. WimmerUniversity of Notre Dame
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