IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 220: The Duality of Landscape: Literary Liminality

Monday 7 July 2008, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Cora Dietl, Institut für Germanistik, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Gießen
Paper 220-aThe Desert as locus Dei in the Legend of Barlaam and Josaphat
(Language: English)
Constanza Cordoni, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Wien
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Comparative, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 220-b'Ghereden comen wi van chyteroene': Landscape in The Flemish Rose Prologue
(Language: English)
Elizabeth C. Dearnley, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Dutch, Literacy and Orality
Paper 220-cDer kleine und der große Rosengarten: Natur als Staffage
(Language: Deutsch)
Jörg Füllgrabe, Sozialwissenschaften, Hochschule Darmstadt
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Maritime and Naval Studies
Abstract

Paper -a:
In the Greek Byzantine ‘edifying story’ of Barlaam and Josaphat (10th century) the desert has a major role, not only in terms of natural space, but as THE space, where it is possible to be close to God. The re-writing of this desert in the European High Middle Ages implied several ‘adjustments’, which nevertheless did not prevent the authors from maintaining the desert-like character of the space (in terms of lonely place of vita contemplativa, of asceticism and sexual abstinence) or the court’s distopical character. A close reading of selected passages from vernacular (Spanish, French and German) versions (13th and 14th centuries) can lead to new insights as to the construction of the natural space, where two fictional characters became ‘Saints Barlaam and Josaphat’.
Paper -b:
The Middle Dutch translation of the Roman de la Rose known as The Flemish Rose adds an original framework to the French poem, where a new narrator, Minre, meets Jolijs (the ‘je’ of Guillaume’s text) in a locus amoenus. Jolijs’ description of his mountain home in Cythera reflects the almost mythological status granted to the French Rose and its protagonist by the Flemish poet, in contrast with Minre’s description of his journey from workaday Flanders. The locus amoenus in which they meet acts as an intermediary both between familiar and magical landscapes and – by extension – between French and Dutch literature.
Paper -c:
Die Natur im allgemeinen wie im besonderen scheint in der europäischen Heldendichtung des Mittelalters keine wesentliche Rolle zu spielen. Umso bemerkenswerter ist es, daß es in der mittelhochdeutschen Überlieferung zwei Heldendichtungen gibt, die durch die Betitelung als ‘Rosengarten’ zumindest einen Bezug zur Pflanzenwelt aufweisen. Allerdings scheint der ‘Kleine Rosengarten’ insofern ‘natürlicher’ zu sein, als hier vermutlich eine orale Überlieferung im weitesten Sinne die Auseinandersetzung zwischen der unberührten Welt der Berge – repräsentiert durch Laurin – und der menschlichen Zivilisation – repräsentiert durch Dietrich von Bern – stattzufinden scheint. Der ‘Wormser Rosengarten’ ist demgegenüber offenbar weniger naturbezogen – allerdings wird ein Vergleich beider Dichtungen über die Person Dietrichs hinaus Verbindungen erkennen lassen.

Nature in general seems to be not a subject of heroic literature. But in two Middle High German texts we find the title ‘Rosengarten’ and to that extent a relationship between the hero and nature. The Kleiner Rosengarten seems to be ‘more’ nature-related, because of the conflict – maybe traditional in older oral poetry – between ‘nature’ and ‘civilisation’, represented by the roles of Laurin and Dietrich von Bern. The Wormser Rosengarten belongs more to ‘civilisation’, but we will maybe find that there are archaic, quasi-‘natural’ aspects too.