1 October 2016

Schöne Historien explores late medieval romance novels in Dutch-German cultural transfer

On 1 October 1516, exactly 500 years ago, the novel Historie van Margarieta van Limborch was printed in Antwerp. Dr Rita Schlusemann (Medieval Literature) provides in Schöne Historien. Niederländische Romane im deutschen Spätmittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit the first-ever comparative analysis of these late medieval Margriete-romances, combining philology, book history and cultural history, and by viewing the romances in the larger context of Dutch-German cultural transfer.

This year the Netherlands and Flanders will be guests of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In the late middle ages and early modern times, already, the great interest which the German language areas had for Dutch literature is evident from the number of German translations and adaptations of medieval Dutch romances made. Such new versions were composed in, for example, the Ripuarian area and for the court of the Counts Palatine in Heidelberg; early printed versions of Dutch romances were also read in Bavaria. The story of the love-affairs and the adventures of Margriete and Heinric of Limburg (fourteenth century) was one of the most popular Dutch romances in manuscript, and from 1516 onwards it was frequently reprinted. It is one of the romances with the widest dissemination in the German speaking areas.