The Cambridge History of German Literature by Professor Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly

By Professor Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly

This can be the 1st publication to supply a whole German literary heritage as much as the Unification of Germany in 1990. it's a background for our occasions: recognized authors and events are set in a much wider literary, cultural and political context, usual judgments are reexamined the place acceptable, and a brand new prominence is given to writing through ladies. The publication is designed for the final reader in addition to the complex scholar; titles and quotations are translated, and there's an in depth bibliography.

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From contemporary chronicles we know that Lewis and Carloman together defeated a would-be usurper, Boso, Duke of Provence, after which Lewis rode north and defeated a Viking force at Saucourt in Picardy in August 881, a victory that was bound to be the subject of immediate acclaim, but was of limited significance, since Lewis died almost exactly a year later. When the poem was copied, a Latin heading was added indicating that it was 'in memoriam', a sad contrast to the tri­ umphant conclusion trusting that God would preserve the young king.

Nevertheless, our manuscript is a late copy (there are mistakes in it that can only have come from a written source) and it is impossible to guess how many written stages preceded it. Preserved on the front and back pages of a manuscript, it is incomplete, though only a few lines seem to be missing. Its language, though, is impossible; an attempt has been made to render a work written in the Bavarian dialect (the alliteration only works in High German) into Low German, but with such lack of success that false forms appear.

Waltharius kills most of the Franks in single and com­ bined battles and wounds Guntharius severely. The last battle is with Hagano, but after Waltharius loses a hand, Hagano an eye and some teeth, a truce is called, and a settlement made, after which Waltharius returns to his kingdom, marries Hiltgund and rules for many years. The fighting is more vivid than in the Hildebrandslied, if some of the plot is a little contrived, including the abrupt ending. The role of Hiltgund is slight, although Waltharius's chaste behaviour towards her on their flight is noteworthy.

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