Siegfried, the epitome of Germanic prowess, is strangely missing precisely in the first attestations of the narratives that would later make up the Middle High German Nibelungenlied and the Old Norse Volsungasaga, where he is the protagonist. In his place we find Sigemund, his less-renowned father, seamlessly playing his role in these early narratives. This paper examines how this came to be, and in the process, reviews the Protean embodiments of the Siegfried legends and brings previous scholarship under scrutiny, including a critical assessment of the very notion of ‘Germanic heroic poetry’.
Almost two centuries separate the life of the Austrian (we think) singer known simply as Der von Kürenberc and the first written sample of his verse. We know almost nothing about the singer or the transmission of his songs beyond the inclusion in the famous Swiss collection of Minnesang known popularly as the Mannesische Handschrift. The manuscript also includes a ‘portrait’ of the singer that doesn’t tell use any more. In my paper I would like to propose a somewhat novel approach to the transmission of his songs. This includes the singer’s adoption of an epic stanza for most of his poems and the use of melodies in the transmission of lyric stanzas.
Building on the research of two previous papers presented at the Leeds IMC (2009 and 2011), The Troubadours and the Feminine Archetype is a continuing investigation into the societal, archetypal, and psychological underpinnings of the late medieval tradition of courtly love or fin’amor. The tradition was a rite of social refinement endured by a male as he would pay lengthy homage to his lady – thereby indefinitely deferring romantic pleasure. For this paper, I suggest that the Provencal region provided particularly fertile soil for the unfettered poetic development of the ideals of fin’amor as the region: 1) was susceptible to numerous influences (including heretical influences) due in part to its geographical context; 2) enjoyed relative autonomy from the control of both Church and State; 3) manifested a more ‘horizontal’ social structure than the hierarchical ‘vertical’ social structures of the north; and 4) consequently held women in higher esteem than was the case in the north.