Wolfram's Willehalm: Fifteen Essays (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
Publisher: Camden House (February 15, 2002)
Format: PDF / Kindle / ePub
Size: 8.5 MB
Downloadable formats: PDF
Wolfram von Eschenbach's Willehalm (c. 1210-20) is one of the great epic creations of the Middle Ages. Its account of conflict between Christian and Muslim cultures, centering on the warrior-saint Willehalm and his wife Gyburc, a convert from Islam, challenges the ideology of the Crusades. It celebrates the heroism, faith, and family solidarity of the Christians, but also displays the suffering of both sides in the war and questions the justification of all killing. Gyburc, whose abandonment of her Muslim family and conversion to Christianity are the immediate cause of the war, bears a double burden of sorrow, and it is from her that springs a vision of humanity transcending religious differences that is truly remarkable for its time. In Gyburc's heathen brother Rennewart and his love for the French king's daughter, Wolfram also develops a richly comic strand in the narrative, with the outcome left tantalizingly open by the work's probably unfinished conclusion. Long overshadowed by his earlier Parzival, Wolfram's Willehalm is increasingly receiving the recognition it deserves. The fifteen essays in this volume present new interpretations of a wide range of aspects of Willehalm. They place the work in its historical and literary context, promote understanding of its leading figures and themes, and highlight Wolfram's supreme qualities as a story-teller. Martin H. Jones is Senior Lecturer in German at King's College, London. Timothy McFarland is retired as Senior Lecturer in German at University College London.