Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Videocast: Anxiety and Wanderlust in the German Middle Ages

This is the most recent recording for my second podcast series De Amore: On Love with Brikena Ribaj.
This piece is about the character of Gahmuret in the German narrative from the Middle Ages, Parzival.

The question I tackle here is: "Why is it that the best of knights are always in a state of anxiety?" "Why do they have the urge to move from adventure to adventure?"

Familiarity with Wolfram von Eschebach's Parzival or the earlier French version, Perceval, the Story of the Grail by Chrétien de Troyes, can help but it's not a must.

All the episodes are now uploaded and running on iTunes as well as the blog.

You can view this episode here.

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Dana said...

So medieval knighthood is not any different than the corporate ladder.
I'd like to read Parzival. Any translation in English I could check out?

Tina said...

Some professions like knighthood in the Middle Ages are simply more conducive to mobility.
I like the suggestion that the medieval knights were the equivalent of the modern corporate person: the faster you move, the more you accomplish, and therefore, the higher you're ranked in the hierarchy of achievement.

Anonymous said...

The question I ask though is what about the kings of adventure that the medieval knights chose? Was there a hierarchy there? Did they privilege battle over serving a lady, for instance?

Anonymous said...

How different is the character of Gahmuret in de Troyes' Perceval?

James said...

Wolfram's Parzival with its 25.000 line gave German literature almost what the Illyad gave the Greeks.
Gahmuret doesn't get as much attention as Parzival himself. He's like the talented parent whose child happens to be a celebrity and, as a result, hogs all the attention.
I hadn't quite thought of the knightly pursuit of adventure as a sign of anxiety, but in the case of 'antsy' Gahmuret, it is a plausible idea.

J. said...

Ok, I am definitely reading Parzival. Can I come and sit in one of the lectures?

James said...

Am I being weird or did you intend 'Wanderlust' in jest in connection to the order of knighthood?
'cause I'm still smiling....

becca said...

Wolfram's Parzival reads very tidy and organized. It doesn't have the entertainment value of Hartmann or Gottfried but it's def. solid.

B.R. said...

-There are some solid translations of Parzival. If you are looking at verse translations, I would suggest that you go for the Reklam version. The thing is, it will be abridged but the verse rendering is quite good. The English prose rendering is also quite good.
-I like the likening of knighthood to the corporate culture. Knights were/had to be competitive in order to progress within the order.
-There was definitely a hierarchy of service. The best of knights, think Arthur, pledged allegiance to God, the order of knighthood itself and his lady, Guinevere. For without courtly love and the love of a lady, the knight is not a knight.
The German Gahmuret exits the plot by end of the first few books. He is instrumental in jump starting the story, however. Tahnks to Gahmuret, we get both Feirefiz and Parzival.
-Class visits are fine but I like for them to be topic-specific, i.e., if you are interested in one text, you are welcome to sit in and listen to our discussion of said text.
-I meant to use Wanderlust on purpose here. Of course. It's such a loaded term esp. in modernity, I mean, Goethe times, which is 'modern.' :)