Medieval German Literature

The study of premodern German language and literature (Medieval German Literature) deals with texts written in the time between c. 750 and 1520 in the linguistic periods of Old High German, Old Saxon, Middle High German, Middle Lower German and Middle Dutch as well as Early New High German. 

Medieval German Literature explores these texts using an intersection of different philological, philosophical and theoretical approaches. By employing a broad understanding of literature the discipline examines not only aesthetical and fictional but also pragmatic texts (e.g. technical prose).

In order to address the specific mediality of medieval literature, which was informed by a society shaped by oral discourses, approaches regarding the history of transmission, textual criticism, editorial theory and social history will be employed. More recent approaches from cultural anthropology will be used to enable an analysis of the texts that considers the importance of symbolic practices in medieval society. The connectedness of medieval literature with different cultural contexts within and outside of Europe demands an interdisciplinary methodology, open to other neighboring fields of medieval studies. An open forum for this exchange is the university’s Centre for Medieval Studies.

Exchange with other universities in Switzerland and abroad is encouraged via the networks of various research projects (e.g. digital editions) and via pre-established contacts with partners at international universities (such as Göttingen in Germany, Paris IV in France, and Oxford in the United Kingdom).

Chair: Prof. Dr. Michael Stolz