Erotic Tales of Medieval Germany

Erotic Tales of Medieval Germany

Translated by Albrecht Classen

Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies: Texts for Teaching, Volume 3
Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-86698-374-7

Synopsis: Just as late-medieval Italian literature has its Decameron and late-medieval English literature has its Canterbury Tales, late-medieval German literature, though less familiar, also has collections of erotic tales. The genre of mæren (short verse narratives) treated a wide range of erotic subjects, including marriage, sexuality, violence, and adultery. One of the best authors of these tales was Heinrich Kaufringer, and Dietrich von der Gletze, Jans der Enikel, Ruprecht von Würzburg, and Count Froben Christoph von Zimmern also composed little masterpieces of erotic verse novellas. The present collection offers a selection of some of the best mæren in English translation and, insofar as these late-medieval German writers demonstrated similar narrative skills as their European contemporaries, provides more opportunity for comparative literary analysis.

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The Medieval Review: “In this sleek volume Albrecht Classen offers translations of twenty tales of love, sex, marriage, and a good deal of wishful thinking on erotic subjects in which medieval Germans of all walks of life appear to have delighted. The tales are known as maeren: Middle High German short verse narratives mostly composed between ca. 1250 and 1500.” Click here to read the full review


See also

Courtliness and Transgression at Arthur’s Court With Emphasis on the Middle High German Poet Neidhart and the Anonymous Verse Novella Mauritius von Craûn – article by Albrecht Classen

The myth of the medieval chastity belt – lecture by Albrecht Classen, given at the University of Sydney (audio file)

Interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on the medieval chastity belt

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