The Kaiserchronik: A Medieval Narrative

ISBN : 9780199656998

Alastair Matthews
210 Pages
151 x 222 mm
Pub date
Jul 2012
Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs
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This book presents a narratological analysis of the Kaiserchronik, or chronicle of the emperors, the first verse chronicle to have been written in any European vernacular language, which provides an account of the Roman and Holy Roman emperors from the foundation of Rome to the eve of the Second Crusade. Previous research has concentrated on the structure and sources of the work and emphasized its role as a Christian narrative of history, but this study shows that the Kaiserchronik does not simply illustrate a didactic religious message: it also provides an example of how story-telling techniques in the vernacular were developed and explored in twelfth-century Germany. Four aspects of narrative are described (time and space, motivation, perspective, and narrative strands), each of which is examined with reference to the story of a particular emperor (Constantine the Great, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, and Henry IV). Rather than imposing a single analytical framework on the Kaiserchronik,


Abbreviations, Translations, References
1. Introduction
2. Time, Place, and Space: Constantine the Great
3. Motivation: Charlemagne
4. Perspective: Otto the Great
5. Strands and Embedding: Henry IV and Godfrey of Bouillon
6. Conclusion

About the author: 

Alastair Matthews specializes in theoretical approaches to medieval German narrative literature. He was awarded his doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2009 and held a Junior Research Fellowship at Somerville College, where he examined concepts of character and the self in Middle High German texts. He is currently a Theodor Heuss Research Fellow at the University of Bonn, where he is working on a study of Lohengrin, and is also an active translator.

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