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Both Gregorius and Der arme Heinrich are attempts to answer the question occupying several major poets of the age and formulated by one of them as: wie man zer welte solte leben how is a person supposed to live in regard to this world. The somber landscapes of Gregorius offer little hope of reconciling the values of the secular world with the higher demands of the spiritual realm. Der arme Heinrich promises the hope of reconciliation through insight and proper orientation. Life is good. We have only to realize that the good it contains comes from God and is not ours in a proprietary sense.

Thus oriented, we have only to accept with humility what God has in store for us. In this atypical crusading song, the poet celebrates not his love for the lady whom he must leave, but rather divine love calling him to action. The very conventions of the court prevent her from clearly declaring her love — if it exists at all.


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Hence the courtly lover is doomed to pine away, mooning over a love that demands words but forbids action. The crusader, on the other hand, does not confine himself to talking of love rede but strides to action werk , which he proudly and confidently proclaims at the outset: ich var. Emboldened by the certainty and substantiality of the love he experiences, he concludes by urging all his fellow knights, who are entangled in a silly game of ultimately ephemeral love, to follow him.

Notes 1 Besides knowledge of theology, in Gregorius Hartmann shows great familiarity with life in a monastery, so much so that it has been suggested that he possibly spent time in one in early years. As with his knowledge of theology, this familiarity with monastery life does not perceptibly surpass what a bright and interested layperson might have readily acquired. It forces itself upon the interpreter during a careful scrutiny of the texts.

Gustav von Buchwald. Kiel: Ernst Homann, Karl Lachmann and Moriz Haupt. Stuttgart: Hirzel, Hartmann von Aue. Hermann Paul, 16th ed. Edited by Albert Leitzmann. Hermann Paul, 11th ed. Lombard, Peter. Libri IV Sententiarum. Florence: Collegii S. Bonaventurae, Works Cited Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo.

Tobin, Frank J. His lyrical works, by contrast, have tended to receive less attention, and frequently have received less than glowing critical reviews Salmon; Seiffert , 1—2. Nonetheless, had he left behind nothing more than his lyrics, Hartmann would still have to be regarded as a significant and fascinating poet, by virtue of the many contributions he made to the poetic treatment of love, clearly a topic of intense interest in the High Middle Ages.

Because Hartmann is one of the few poets who composed both narrative poetry and love songs — Heinrich von Veldeke d. An initial phase of youthful writing was often postulated, during which time the Klage, Erec, and possibly the beginning of Iwein may have been written, at about the same time as Hartmann composed the songs of love for his lady.

Toward the end of his career, Hartmann would have returned to and completed his Iwein, in a way that manages to combine worldly and spiritual concerns Hasty, 27— The studies by Schmid and Schreyer — both from — illustrate well the then-popular biographical approach to literature. In the course of the last century, however, scholars gradually worked their way toward an understanding of medieval lyric that has made it more difficult — though still not impossible — to understand them in the light of the lives and feelings of the medieval poets.

The work of Franz Saran proved to be of particular importance in facilitating this change from a focus on the lyrics as biographical testimony to one on their formal characteristics. The past few decades have witnessed the fascinating emergence of an abundance of critical approaches to medieval love lyrics, even as some of the traditional ideas continue.

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Although a survey of these would go beyond the objective of this chapter, there are a few common assumptions in many of these positions that are worth mentioning in this context because they bear immediately on the discussion of Hartmann as lyric poet. Hartmann followed upon the generation of lyric poets, including Friedrich von Hausen d. This reward for love service, which may range in individual cases from a token of love in the form of words or a glance to sexual union, is seldom closely specified. Thus, paradoxically, the very characteristics of the lady that make her desirable also make her unattainable.

Common to some of the assessments of the aesthetic or fictional status of the lyrics is that it is necessary to recognize that references to love and ladies in the songs, within the framework of such a discussion, probably do not refer to real sentiment or experiences of the poet or to real ladies to whom the poet has amorously devoted himself Obermaier, 15— The desire for union with the beloved lady, in this view, is the lyrical expression of a desire for increased social mobility.

The interpretation of the works of Hartmann has always had its own particular history and impetus, but in the case of the lyrics this has to be tempered by recognition of the high degree of conventionality of the lyrical medium in which the minnesingers worked. Indeed, in the critical assessment of the love lyrics and medieval court literature more generally, there has been increasing recognition that the more strictly individual concerns of the poets might be approached not as something that stands outside or beyond generic conventions, but rather as a specific way of operating within and to some extent altering them.

The strophes, the order of which varies in some cases from one manuscript to the other,5 were organized into eighteen songs in the standard edition of the lyrics by Karl Lachmann and Moriz Haupt that was originally published in and since has undergone dozens of revisions. In the thirty-seventh revised edition by Moser and Tervooren, the editors point to the possibility that the strophe, rather than the song, seems to have been the primary building block of the medieval performances, and that we have to reckon with the possibility that the organization of the individual strophes into the larger units of songs was a very flexible and changeable process from the very beginning Moser and Tervooren, 7—8; Klare, There is a general recognition today, for example, that it is impossible to know with certainty the order in which Hartmann composed and performed his songs, whether the love songs were about real emotions and real ladies, and whether his crusade songs follow the love songs and mean that Hartmann actually participated in a crusade himself.

Today most scholars avoid positing a chronology for the songs and instead group the lyrics according to different basic themes e. Love Songs I.


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The order of the strophes, as well as the assumption that they constitute a single song, has been a much discussed in the critical literature Brackert, Whereas the first strophe is suggestive of a critical attitude toward the unrewarded service and possibly toward the beloved lady herself see MF , 9 , the second immediately and directly turns this criticism toward the singer himself. This unique verse not only suggests that the singer and the historical Hartmann at least in the performance of these lyrics are one and the same.

The final strophe returns to somewhat conventional formulations: the song is really a complaint, the singer has served all too long in vain, he would be a happy man if he could quit a relationship that amounts to a painful struggle see MF , 7— In the final strophe, the singer wonders how cruelly his lady would treat her enemy in view of the way she treats him, her faithful servant, and goes on to say that he would prefer the enmity of the emperor himself to that of his lady, since he trusts that he could evade imperial forces, whereas the damage his beloved lady inflicts upon him remains with him always and wherever he goes.

The singer seems to distance himself in the initial verses from singers who complain even when they have it good. By contrast, this singer says that he deals with his suffering by always hoping for the best. In the second strophe, the singer broaches the topic of staete, saying that constant ladies can only be won with the most constant service. The singer, far from his beloved, begins with a reflection on the fidelity of his lady. Since even a man who is constantly nearby must be concerned about the fidelity of his beloved, the problem is so much the greater for a man who is far away from her.

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MF , 17—20 [I will benefit from her understanding and that she knows very well why I remained far from her. This distinction reaches its definitive articulation in the third strophe, in which the singer concludes that relationships of proximity make fewer demands on the constancy of lovers and are therefore less substantial. In the final strophe, the lady wistfully thinks about other ladies who are better served by their male admirers, a thought that simultaneously seems to console her there are men who can be constant and to torment her her lover is not one of these.

The lady ends with the hope that God will ease her suffering. When he is close to the lady, whom he has loved all his life another commonplace of the love lyrics , his desire is so strong that, unless he could manage to persuade her to accept his suit, he would prefer to be at a distance. Though it is unstated, the idea of distance perhaps provides the implicit foundation for the second strophe, in which the singer — in a shift from the particular to the general15 — dedicates himself to all ladies as the source of everything of worth that a man might achieve.

Niemen ist ein saelic man No one is a fortunate man; MF , 12 In the first strophe, the singer contrasts his own suffering with the happiness of a man who has never known love. The singer complains that he must part from friends MF , 23—26 , though the nature of this departure a crusade?

A Companion to the Works of Hartmann von Aue (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

The singer declares that he will ever love the day on which he first saw his beloved lady and began to appreciate all of her admirable qualities. MF , 17—20 [How fortunate for me that I dedicated myself to her! It does her no harm and brings great good to me, because I dedicate myself to God and to the court so much the more on account of her. She was from childhood and shall always be my crown; MF , 28— If I have to do without this, it will be unwillingly; MF , 5—7.

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The decision taken by the lady is a daring one, for, as Kasten has observed, she risks the security of her social place in the family and must depend solely on the personal loyalty and dependability of her lover MF , 39—44 [For I can spend my time better with women of modest background. Wherever I go there are plenty of them, and there I can find one who will desire me. Of what good to me is a goal that is too high? The nature of their relationship — was she his wife or lover?

If I become old in years, this will be repaid in suffering a thousand times; MF , 42— The initial strophe focuses on the internal state of mind and spirit of a man who takes the cross. The second strophe continues in the same vein, urging the knights the singer is addressing see MF , 37 to entrust their life and wealth back into the hands of Him who conferred them to begin with.

Using the Frau Welt theme, the singer confesses that he has long been tempted by worldly concerns, and he prays now to Christ for help to separate himself from worldly matters by means of the cross he now bears.

MF , 23—26 [Since death has robbed me of my lord, I am no longer interested in worldly affairs. The only appropriate goal for Hartmann at this juncture of his life is to perform work for God, and half of the blessings earned by his efforts are promised to his departed lord MF , 31— Thankfully and joyfully, Hartmann states that his departure with the kreuzheer crusading army frees him from all worldly bonds. In the first strophe the singer employs personified minne in a chivalric metaphor: minne, having taken him prisoner, has released him on the condition that he depart. I hear the words, but where are the deeds?

The reference to Saladin suggests that the departure of the singer is a crusade, and if a comma is inserted after the word her, then this noble form of address refers not to Saladin as someone who is no longer living in which case the crusade must be that of , but rather to his own lord in which case Saladin is alive and the crusade in question must be that of In the final strophe the singer continues to assert the superiority of his minne over the kind practiced by the minnesingers who are here addressed and criticized collectively, a very rare occurrence in the medieval German lyrics of this time.

Like other lyricists before and after him, Hartmann grapples with the contradictions and paradoxes of a conception of love that is based on service and reward and that is thus recognizably similar to the political relationship between lord and vassal. Only after they have risked losing reputation, love, and life itself, as they live the life of an eremite or undergo the trials of chivalric adventuring, do the heroes achieve a happiness that is substantial and lasting.

To the extent that this attitude of responsibility, reminiscent of that of the heroes of the narrative works, replaces the more strictly plaintive one that predominates elsewhere in the love lyrics, Hartmann might be seen to be empowering himself — even if only ex negativo — and to be defining a new lyrical position that is uniquely his own. Notes 1 Seiffert views Hartmann as a transitional figure standing between the generation of Hausen and that of Reinmar and Walther von der Vogelweide , 1—2.

Henkel argues that the desire to correctly attribute strophes to their author is a typically modern one that would have been foreign to the Middle Ages In this article we shall follow the scholarly consensus, rather than the medieval perspective postulated by Henkel, by not regarding Song XII as by Hartmann. Cited in text as MF. Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan. Friedrich Ranke. Stuttgart: Reclam, Die Lieder Hartmanns von Aue. Brackert, Helmut.