Hans Schiltberger’s Reisebuch (c. 1443) is one of the earliest widely disseminated German language autobiographical descriptions of travel to the Middle East. It recounts his capture at the battle of Nicopolis in 1396, his subsequent enslavement by the Ottoman and Mongol rulers, descriptions of his encounters during his travels and his eventual return to Bavaria 33 years later. This paper will argue that the popularity of this text is at least partly accounted for by the potential for the exploitation of Schiltberger’s encounters with the ‘other’ in the construction of an ideal Bavarian identity, which continues into the 21st century.
As print publications and copyright became culturally entrenched in Spain, certain cancionero manuscripts of ‘lesser value’ – indexing subversive texts, often produced by non-professionals, and generally ignored in today’s scholarship – became symbolic of private enjoyment, ingenuity, and intellectual freedom; thus their anonymity, unconventionality, and textual adaptability stimulated creativity, access to reading, and scenarios for political dissent. In my paper, I study the reading histories of 15th-century anonymous satirical texts, including Coplas de la panadera, Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, and Coplas del Provincial, that appear in such undervalued Spanish cancionero manuscripts. These unorthodox compositions speak to the place of popular figures and minorities in the Spanish cancionero production, privileging voices and counter-narratives by women, peasants, and converso characters.