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In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

Medieval German literature had a deeper impact on Thomas Mann than is typically assumed. The comparison between Wolfram’s von Eschenbach Parzival and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain illustrates this influence. Nearly 700 years separate both novels, nevertheless, they show amazing parallels. Especially as their narrators are very much alike. Both appear exposed in their stories, utilise Wolfram’s Bogengleichnis, and are unreliable. In addition, they both reflect on their narrations as literary constructs. While Wolfram’s narrator defends his protagonist Parzival for his misdeeds Mann does not bother to do so for Hans Castorp. The heroes and other characters are comparable, but develop differently. Parzival gains knowledge and his identity, whereas Hans Castorp loses both. Parzival fails his first encounter with the grail. Castorp, in contrast, wins a deep insight into life in his Schneetraum; but forgets it immediately. Castorp is as foolish as Parzival when he begins his journey. He is, however, not a grail-quester although Howard Nemerov concludes this in his 1939 dissertation. Yet, the Magic Mountain seems strongly influenced by Parzival. But while the characters in Parzival seek to help the central protagonist, egoism is predominant in the Magic Mountain, the hero stagnates and fails to successfully finish the hero’s journey.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

One of our central challenges as medievalists consists of how to respond to the question regarding the relevance of medieval literature and other documents. This article suggests that we can easily draw from medieval heroic literature where ideal and also negative examples of successful/failed leadership are provided. The MHG Nibelungenlied, at least in the first part, illustrates dramatically the consequences of a weak, indecisive, impulsive, and manipulable ruler, whose actions ultimately trigger a whole sequence of hatred, violence, and slaughter. The Old Spanish El Poema de Mío Cid sets out almost at the same point, with the protagonist being exiled because of malignment, but in the course of events, he demonstrates convincingly what makes a true, honorable, admirable, and worthy leader. These two epic poems can serve powerfully as illustrations of failed and successful leadership, and can thus offer significant instructions for modern concerns in politics, business, administration, the church, schools, and universities.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

This article researches alliterating word-pairs in Wolframs ‘Parzival’. First, all examples from the text are collected and analyzed to elucidate their occurrence in the Old and Middle High German context. It becomes clear which word-pairs have been inherited from Old and (Early) Middle High German, and which were possibly the making of Wolfram himself. In doing so, the inventory of alliterating word-pairs in the early language phases of German is expanded with a few more specimens. We also gain a deeper understanding of their role in the Middle High German courtly novel.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

The vernacular glosses in the manuscript Trier, Seminarbibliothek 61, are considered to be mainly Old Middle Franconian in the scientific literature. They are, however, mixed with Low German words, that are considered to be Old Saxon. With the help of the verb forms in these glosses this article tries to make probable that at least some of these Low German glosses are more likely to be Old Low Franconian than Old Saxon. At the same time it becomes clear that in the dictionaries the difference between weak ēn- and ōn-verbs in a number of cases is wrong or at least doubtful.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
A Thirteenth-Century Intensional Logic
Paul Thom’s book presents Kilwardby’s science of logic as a body of demonstrative knowledge about inferences and their validity, about the semantics of non-modal and modal propositions, and about the logic of genus and species. This science is thoroughly intensional. It grounds the logic of inference on that in virtue of which the inference holds. It bases the truth conditions of propositions on relations between conceptual entities. It explains the logic of genus and species through the notion of essence.
Thom interprets this science as a formal logic of intensions with its own proof theory and semantics. This comprehensive reconstruction of Kilwardby’s logic shows the medieval master to be one of the most interesting logicians of the thirteenth century.
Magistri Symonis (?) Questiones secunde partis Doctrinalis Alexandri de Villa Dei First Critical Edition from the Manuscript with Introduction, Appendices and Indexes
Editor: E.P. Bos
How advanced students in the 15th century learned to understand Latin with the help of Middle Dutch becomes clear in Master Simon’s (?) commentary in the form of questions on the famous medieval didactical poem on grammar Doctinale of Alexander de Villa Dei. The master discusses notions such as the six cases of Latin (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative and ablative), construction, impediments of construction, and participles. The author has a conceptualist approach of language and criticizes interpretations by realists (Modists). He refers to other important medieval grammars, viz. Commentary on Priscian attributed to Peter Helias, Compendium de modis significandi attributed to Thomas of Erfurt, the Metrista, the Regulae Puerorum and the Florista.
Text Dating by Machine Learning
Editors: Gregory Toner and Xiwu Han
In Language and Chronology, Toner and Han apply innovative Machine Learning techniques to the problem of the dating of literary texts. Many ancient and medieval literatures lack reliable chronologies which could aid scholars in locating texts in their historical context. The new machine-learning method presented here uses chronological information gleaned from annalistic records to date a wide range of texts. The method is also applied to multi-layered texts to aid the identification of different chronological strata within single copies.
While the algorithm is here applied to medieval Irish material of the period c.700-c.1700, it can be extended to written texts in any language or alphabet. The authors’ approach presents a step change in Digital Humanities, moving us beyond simple querying of electronic texts towards the production of a sophisticated tool for literary and historical studies.