In The Giant Hero in Medieval Literature Tina Boyer counters the monstrous status of giants by arguing that they are more broadly legible than traditionally believed. Building on an initial analysis of St. Augustine’s City of God, Bernard of Clairvaux’s deliberations on monsters and marvels, and readings in Tomasin von Zerclaere’s Welsche Gast provide insights into the spectrum of antagonistic and heroic roles that giants play in the courtly realm. This approach places the figure of the giant within the cultural and religious confines of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and allows an in-depth analysis of epics and romances through political, social, religious, and gender identities tied to the figure of the giant. Sources range from German to French, English, and Iberian works.
Tina Marie Boyer, Ph.D. (2010), is Assistant Professor of German Medieval Literature and Second Language Acquisition at Wake Forest University. She has published articles on monstrous entities in medieval literature, medievalism, and pop-culture.
List of Figures viii
1 The Giant in the Medieval Mind 26
St. Augustine and the Monstrous Races 29
Biblical Giants 33
Theological Conceptions 36
Secular and Courtly Conceptions 39
2 The Monster from the Outside 51
The Giantesses of the Eckenlied 66
Grauer Rock (Orendel) 75
3 Misplaced Loyalties and Evil Minions 101
Daniel von dem blühenden Tal 102
Laurin and Walberan 125
4 A Fighter for Court and Hero 131
König Rother 132
Boeve de Haumtome 148
5 Of Monstrous Courts and Heroes 161
Herzog Ernst 162
6 The Questing Giant 187
Questions of Monstrous Identity in Romances and Epics 222
Our Medieval Inheritance 227
All interested in gender studies, monstrosity, and violence and combat. This book also provides access to untranslated German sources for an Anglophone audience.