By Thomas Kerth
King Rother, a twelfth-century bridal-quest epic, occupies an enormous position within the background of German literature. The earliest surviving and structurally so much refined of the so-called minstrel epics, verse narratives as soon as assumed to were recited by means of itinerant minstrels sooner than a courtly viewers, it has its roots in German folklore and files the transition from orality to the tradition of the e-book. The textual content belongs to the subgenre of the perilous bridal quest, within which the disguised wooer deceives the bride's father and abducts her along with her consent. this straightforward quest constitution is doubled, if the wooer needs to win his bride a moment time from her father, who has rescued her. The bride is nearly continuously a passive determine in those occasions, the most clash being the disparity in prestige among the wooer and his potential spouse's father. King Rother is structurally complicated, because the current research is the 1st to acknowledge: the hunt constitution is doubled not just within the wooer's moment quest, but in addition within the bride's personal activities -- together with her use of deception in a parallel quest for her wooer. This underscores her equality in prestige, that is her crucial qualification to be his spouse. The learn comprises an immense English-language precis of scholarship on King Rother, at the minstrel epics, and at the bridal quest. Thomas Kerth is affiliate Professor of German at Stony Brook college.
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Extra info for King Rother and His Bride: Quest and Counter-Quests (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
Leopold, 1930), 10–31; on the same in the Munich version of Oswald, see Bräuer, “Die drei Fassungen des Legendenromans,” 552. 22 On formulaic expressions and their indication of oral tradition see Edward Haymes, Das mündliche Epos: Eine Einführung in die “Oral Poetry” Forschung (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1977), 14–17; also Armin Wishard, “Formulaic Composition in the Spielmannsepik,” Papers on Language and Literature 8 (1972): 243–51. 1 (1984): 32. 23 Theodore M. ” Andersson, A Preface to the Nibelungenlied (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1987), 69–71, here 71.
Frings sees King Rother as a conglomeration of the Langobards, Authari and Rothari, with Roger of Sicily. According to his theory, Authari’s bridal quest becomes associated with the more familiar name of the law-giver, Rothari, whose antiByzantine exploits then become associated with Roger, who would be known in German-speaking lands because of his tempestuous relationship with the German emperors. German emperors of the time have also been suggested as models for Rother, although these theories have generally met with less acceptance.
1176, it is clear that a tale similar to Salman und Morolf, which also contains this scene, was in circulation in France during the late twelfth century; unknown, of course, is whether that tale was still in the oral stage of dissemination or had already been fixed in written form. With this caveat, a brief sketch of the intricate plot of Salman und Morolf can suffice for comparison,18 although the manuscripts for which, as noted above, postdate König Rother by more than two centuries. The Christian King Salman (Solomon) is married to Salme, daughter of an infidel king, whom he had abducted from her father 26 SOURCES AND HISTORY (Siefken’s type D: abduction without consent) and baptized.