Mittelhochdeutsche Erzählverfahren und theologisches Wissen

Bausteine einer historisch spezifischen Narratologie

in Poetica
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  • 1 Zürich
  • 2 Münster


The question of the cultural conditions of narrations as a paradigm of historical narratology corresponds to one of the main interests of medieval literary studies: how is literature anchored in its extra-literary fields of reference? However, problems with the modeling of text and context have led to literary texts being understood in a more abstract way as forms of cultural practice, whereas the concrete contexts are neglected. As a result of this development, different cultural theoretical premises are encountered in the field of historical narratology that can hardly be related to one another. In this situation, our paper wants to highlight the importance of very specific text-context references, especially between theological knowledge and the narrative methods (Erzählverfahren) of Middle High German literature. Firstly, the autodiegesis in Rudolf von Ems’s Der guote Gêrhart is interpreted with respect to the question of intentionality, as discussed in Peter Lombard’s Book of Sentences. Secondly, ambiguities in the figuration and the narrative perspective in Ritter von Staufenberg are explained in the horizon of a literary demonology, as it is rooted in Augustinian theology and is developed by Walter Map and Gervasius of Tilbury. With this approach we want to argue that theological knowledge influenced the vernacular narrative not only on the level of content, but also in narrative methods.


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