IMC 2003: Sessions

Session 1019: New Research in Medieval German Studies: Emotion as Power and Authority

Wednesday 16 July 2003, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Society for Medieval German Studies
Organiser:Ernst Ralf Hintz, English, Foreign Language, Communication, Truman State University
Moderator/Chair:Ernst Ralf Hintz, English, Foreign Language, Communication, Truman State University
Paper 1019-a'Der keiser undac': The Authority of Emotions in Herzog Ernst, 1170-1957
(Language: English)
Stephen Mark Carey, Department of German Studies, Emory University, Georgia
Paper 1019-bEmotion and the Establishment of Power in the Old Swedish Hærra Ivan and Chrétien's Yvain
(Language: English)
Joseph M. Sullivan, Department of Modern Languages, University of Oklahoma
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - French/ Occitan, Language and Literature - Scandinavian
Paper 1019-cEmotions as Power and Authority in Priester Wernher's Driu liet von der maget
(Language: English)
Ernst Ralf Hintz, English, Foreign Language, Communication, Truman State University

Paper a: “der keiser undac: The Authority of Emotions in Herzog Ernst – 1170-1957.”

Readers justifiably laud the tale of Herzog Ernst as “Germany’s most durable literary property.” Extensive research into the “history” behind this tale points to various historical threads that were woven together with medieval and antique legends of the exotic and foreign but does litle to explain the persistence of this pre-modern literary material well into the 20th century. Recent studies of representations of emotions in medieval literature have a great deal to learn from this material as it has developed over the ages. A look at the historical context of the successive manifestations of the tale help to understand how affective expressions that validate national identity and dynastic legitimacy have changes over the centuries. Recent articulation of theories of affective histories in literary representation and the role of kinship allow us to return to the cultural negotiations performed over time in this material with new clarity. This examination locates the resiliency of the tale to serve as platform for negotiating variant historical identities in the elasticity of affective representation. I will chart the transformations of the representations of Ernst’s righteous indignation and rage from the middle Franconian version of the Herzog Ernst legend (1170) through the 1476 prose variant, the Volksbuch of 1560, Uhland’s ballad (1817), Felix Dahn’s novel (1902), and finally Peter Hack’s satiric drama (1957), thereby, mapping a transformation of affective representation over a millennium of history.

Paper b: “Emotion and the Establishment of Power in the Old Swedish Haerra Ivan and in Chretien’s Yvain”

Literary and social historians have long pointed to the nexus between the establishment and legitimization of power and its ideological bolstering
through commensurate literary works, in particular those of the genre Arturian Romance. Yet the role of emotion and affectivity in this process
remains to be examined. In doing so, I compare the 12th century Yvain of Chretien as forerunner of this genre with its later representative in
medievlal Swedish literature, Haerra Ivan. The major patterns of emotional authorization – together with their variants- offer a frame of reference that allows the late 12th century German counterpart, Iwein, from Hartmann von Aue to be viewed in a more comprehensive light. Through these comparisons, moreover, the reception of predominant patterns in which emotion acts as a vehicle in the establishment of power becomes visible in later works from the late medieval period to the present that deal with the legitimization of rule.

Paper c: “Emotion as Power and Authority in Priester Wernher’s Driu liet von der maget”

The use of emotion to legitimate practioners of “saving” conduct on the one hand, and to condemn and warn against those of “damning” conduct on the other hand, underscores the authority to prescribe religious and socially sanctioned courses of action. Affectivity-Affektenlehre- assumes
a pedagogical function that aims at instructing the listener/reader to recognize behaviours beneficial or deleterious to salvation. Within this
ostensibly simple binery system, however, emotional responses and displays legitimate or renounce the power of authority figures. In his laudation to the Virgin Mary, Driu liet von der maget, Priester Wernher employs emotion in the form of affectivity to ascribe power and authority to practioners of virture and to disqualify the unvirtuous as unworthy of exercising authority and their claims to power as illegitimate. Further,
illuminations that adorn a manuscript of Wernher’s work underscore the relation between the use of emotion both as a salvific agent and an agent of religiously sanctioned, secular legitimation.