Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Depicting German Peasants in Poetry

I came to this topic by considering the fact that the son of Meier Helmbrecht, also called Helmbrecht, convinces his sister Gotelint, to marry his best friend among the robbers, Lämmerslint. And this struck me akin to the Muslim girls who would go off, sixteen years old, from London and Vienna, to Syria to marry ISIS warriors.

So I decided to re-acquaint myself with Meier Helmbrecht, leading to this English translation of both Helmbrecht and Hartmann von Aue's Poor Heinrich by Clair Hayden Bell, of the University of California, in 1931.

In the introduction, Bell furthermore discussed the works of the Austrian ministerials Seifried Helbing, who left us some fifteen poems (e.g. Kleiner Lucidarius, described here) and Reinmar von Zweter's poems. The Austrian ministerials benefitted from the relative peace and the excellent soil along the Danube river.

These two belong together so tightly that Reinmars and Seifried are at times neighbors in a manuscript.

Another fellow who belongs into this group is Ottackar von Steiermark, in the mind of Theodor Ritter von Karajan.

Bell also mentions Hugo von Trimberg, who wrote the famous didactic Medieval poem Der Renner, "welches die größte didaktische Dichtung des deutschen Mittelalters darstellt", which he wrote while in charge of the School of the priory St Gangolf. That text is available via Medaevium.de for the 14th century,  Von Trimberg is interesting as he received no university training and was a married man with a large family.

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