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Vanessa-Nadine Sternath

(Research assistant in German Medieval Studies at the University of Kassel)

I what you, you who I. The (In-)Equality of Achilles and Patroclus in Middle High German Troy Poetry

Achilles and Patroclus are a pair of friends with tradition: already in Homer their friendship is depicted as ideal, in late antiquity and in the Middle Ages numerous Latin-language and Middle High German adaptations such as Herbort's Liet von Tro ye and Conrad's Trojan War emerge, and even in modern times the Trojan material enjoys wider circulation.

In order to examine the symmetry of this friendship relationship and to find out how it works, we will start from Cicero's concept of friendship: In Laelius de amicitia, which was part of school reading in the Middle Ages, the rhetor and philosopher emphasizes how important it is to be a good person oneself before seeking a friend. Only then can you treat them as you would yourself, which is the essence of friendship. In this sense, the friend is an alter idem, an "other self." In a second step, this theory is applied to the Middle High German Troy texts and it is worked out what results from it for the (a-)symmetry of the friendship of Achilles and Patroclus and what meaning the upheavals from heroic warrior allegiance to courtly culture have for it. Likewise, it is necessary to investigate whether the two friends each have a deficit that the other compensates for, and whether Achilles and Patroclus are actually a figure that is contradictory in itself but has been split into two different figures, thus representing the two sides of an alter idem.

Medieval studies in particular stands at a hinge point from which one can look in both directions: A comprehensive analysis of the topic is only possible with the help of the Latin pre-texts, the Middle High German adaptations and the resulting provision of the understanding horizon of the modern versions, which the previous research neglects.

Johanna Kahlmeyer

(former research assistant in German Medieval Studies at the University of Kassel)

Lieb, zorn, forcht. On the Representation of Emotions in Georg Wickram's Metamorphoses and its Ancient and Medieval Vorlage.

Georg Wickram has so far come to the attention of researchers primarily as one of the first authors of German prose novels. His commissioned works - including his most extensive work, the Metamorphoses- remain largely unconsidered. The dissertation project addresses this desideratum and pursues as a central concern a comparison of the work with its originals. 

The Metamorphosenbearbeitungwas commissioned by Ivo Schöffer and completed by Georg Wickram in 1545. The Metamorphosesadaptation by Albrecht Halberstadt (around 1200), who in turn transcribed Ovid's Metamorphoses, serves as a direct model. The exact relationship of the three authors to each other is to be examined.

Using the representation of emotions as an example, we will explore how Wickram transforms his sources and systematically investigate which techniques of literary composition Wickram has at his disposal, e.g. with regard to the design of figures. In addition, paratextual means of text design such as glossing, woodcuts, and the accompanying commentary by Gerhard Lorichius will be examined. It can be assumed that the work on the Metamorphoses also had an effect on Wickram's later works, in which an antique figure inventory occupies a marginal position. 

Anna-Theresa Kölczer

(former research associate in the LOEWE-focus area "Animal-Human-Society")

The World in the Animal. On the Construction of Animal-Human Relations in the Middle High German "Physiologus" and in Konrad von Megenberg's "Book of Nature

On the one hand, the Middle Ages showed a historically specific relation of animal, human and society in comparison to modern times, but on the other hand, they already produced classifications and demarcations that shape modern patterns of interpretation. The "Physiologus" is one of the central texts in this context, also in its German adaptation. It presents the 'expert on nature' as its guarantor and opens up a Christian-allegorical interpretation of the relationship between animals, humans and society from a Greek-late antique tradition. In it, concepts and problems of capturing and representing the animal-human relationship can be focused. In terms of the history of motifs, it becomes apparent that this text corpus, which has been edited many times, develops its own narrative, argumentative, moralizing, and illustrative patterns, depending on the text design. The aim is to examine the concepts and problems of capturing and representing the animal-human relationship in two different text genres. The illustrated "Book of Nature" by Konrad von Megenberg, written in the mid-14th century, serves as a reference text and counter-model because it was one of the most influential nature books of the German-speaking Middle Ages until the early modern period. It offered a compendium of knowledge about 'natural things' and is a key text between tradition-conscious, allegorical views of nature and an increasingly 'scientific' view of the world.

For the first time, a systematic reappraisal of literary-historical animal designs is to be undertaken, in which not only individual bodies of knowledge from other disciplines are drawn upon, but a real exchange is practiced with regard to theological discourses and the relationship of textual narratives of animal-human relations to the pictorial ones of the illustrated manuscripts. The aim of the project is to show how the animal in discourses becomes a medium of cognition, visualization, structuring and interpretation of the world and thus has an impact on modern forms of literary representation of the animal-human relation.