Ekphrasis and Envisioning Courtly Identity in Wirnt von Gravenberg's Wigalois
James H. Brown
In Imagining the Text, James Brown examines ekphrasis – the verbal representation of a visual representation – in Wirnt von Gravenberg’s thirteenth-century Arthurian romance Wigalois, one of the most popular and enduring stories in the Middle High German literary tradition. Through close reading of the text and examining illustrated Wigalois manuscripts, early print editions, and frescoes, Brown explores how ekphrasis structures the narrative, harmonizes potential conflicts in the text, and contributes to the construction of courtly identity. Imagining the Text demonstrates that the vibrant symbiosis of word and image is crucial to the poem’s sustained popularity for more than six hundred years, and contributes to the history of the book and to the study of medieval and modern modes of perception.