Synopses & Reviews
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, the book takes account of the fact that modern theory cannot always be applied directly to works from premodern periods: it draws critically on a variety of approaches, including those of Gerard Genette, Boris Uspensky, and Eberhard Lammert. Throughout the book, the narrative techniques described are contextualized by means of comparisons with other texts in both Middle High German and Latin, making clear the place of the Kaiserchronik as a literary narrative in the twelfth century.
"Matthews's book, informed by a variety of modern narrative theorists' work, should appeal
to a range of scholars--including non-Germanists--and so should benefit from
Myers's timely translation. ...In short, this book will appeal to a range of scholars; it is a scholarly contribution that will help to re-establish the Kaiserchronik as a well-known text." --Journal of English and Germanic Philology
About the Author
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 working on a study of Lohengrin
, and is also an active translator.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations, Translations, References
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