In Parzival, Wolfram cites the advice offered by the Küchenmeister [Lord of the Kitchen] Rumold in the heroic Nibelungenlied, when the latter urges his Burgundian masters to stay in Worms (thereby enjoying good food and wine), rather than to embark on their fateful journey to Attila’s court. In making this reference to Rumold’s advice, Wolfram underlines the strategic importance of eating and drinking in his Arthurian and Grail romance. However, in his later chanson de geste adaptation, the religious war epic Willehalm, the poet emphasizes the significance of abstinence. This paper will discuss the structural role played by food and drink in Willehalm and the way in which Wolfram has functionalised them in this work.
My paper explores the rich iconography of Sebastian Brant’s late medieval picture book, Das Narrenschiff (The Ship of Fools, Basel, 1494), which was translated into Latin, French, and English and became highly popular in Europe by the end of the 15th century. This compilation of 112 chapters depicts types of folly with verses and accompanying woodcuts. I am particularly interested in the rich iconography of those woodcuts which display feasts; I would like to explore the visual rhetoric of such images with reference to similar medieval displays, especially the depictions of the Last Supper and the carnival popular in medieval Europe, the Feast of Fools.
In medieval Germany many texts and books about table manners were written. In the early period texts on table manners were often written as a small but important part of a large manner book; later they became independent texts and formed a new genre of their own: Tischzuchten(literatur). Then, in the late Middle Ages, satirical texts about wrong and bad table manners were written as a parody on the Tischzuchten, the so-called Grobianische Tischzuchten (‘boorish table manners’). These show not only bad manners at the table in a satirical manner, but one might learn also good manners by reading them, because they could be read as lists of the behaviours which were forbidden at the table. To understand them properly the Grobianische Tischzuchten required their readers to know the good or correct table manners.