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Beards and Texts: Images of masculinity in medieval German literature

Coxon, S; (2021) Beards and Texts: Images of masculinity in medieval German literature. [Book]. UCL Press: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Beards and Texts explores the literary portrayal of beards in medieval German texts from the mid-twelfth to the early sixteenth centuries. It argues that as the pre-eminent symbol for masculinity the beard played a distinctive role throughout the Middle Ages in literary discussions of such major themes as majesty and humanity. At the same time beards served as an important point of reference in didactic poetry concerned with wisdom, teaching and learning, and in comedic texts that were designed to make their audiences laugh, not least by submitting various figure-types to the indignity of having their beards manhandled. Four main chapters each offer a reading of a work or poetic tradition of particular significance (Pfaffe Konrad’s Rolandslied; Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Willehalm; ‘Sangspruchdichtung’; Heinrich Wittenwiler’s Ring), before examining cognate material of various kinds, including sources or later versions of the same story, manuscript variants and miniatures and further relevant beard-motifs from the same period. The book concludes by reviewing the portrayal of Jesus in vernacular German literature, which represents a special test-case in the literary history of beards. As the first study of its kind in medieval German studies, this investigation submits beard-motifs to sustained and detailed analysis in order to shed light both on medieval poetic techniques and the normative construction of masculinity in a wide range of literary genres.

Type: Book
Title: Beards and Texts: Images of masculinity in medieval German literature
ISBN-13: 9781787352216
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14324/111.9781787352216
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.9781787352216
Language: English
Additional information: Text © Author, 2021 Images © Author and copyright holders named in captions, 2021 Any third-party material in this book is not covered by the book’s Creative Commons licence. Details of the copyright ownership and permitted use of third-party material is given in the image (or extract) credit lines. If you would like to reuse any third-party material not covered by the book’s Creative Commons licence, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright owner. This book is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Attribution should include the following information: Coxon, S. 2021. Beards and Texts: Images of masculinity in medieval German literature. London: UCL Press. https://doi.org/10.14324/111.9781787352216 Further details about Creative Commons licences are available at http://creative commons.org/licenses/
Keywords: Germany, beards, beards in german literature, german literatures
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133270
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