Printer Friendly

Latein und Volkssprache im deutschen Mittelalter 1100-1500.

NIKOLAUS HENKEL and NIGEL F. PALMER (eds), Regensburger Colloquium 1988. Pp. ix + 402. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1992, DM 138 (ISBN 3-484540011-1).

An intricate initial from the 'Translatio Barbarica' of the Psalms by Notker of St Gall on the dust-jacket of this splendidly produced volume aptly symbolizes the complexity of the interrelationship between literate Latinity and the ever less illiterate vernacular. Focusing on the high and late Middle Ages (1100-1500), the interdisciplinary colloquium considered the forms in which German and Latin appear (their Uberlieferungssymbiose) and how these work; the nature of translation as (bi-directional) linguistic transfer; how Latin and German interact in various texts; the communicative forms of the two languages in relation to orality and literacy, to their audience/recipients, and to the cultural setting of the discourse. The useful introductory 'Forschungsbericht' sets the colloquium in a wider context, describes the differing degrees of integration of the two languages (and indeed their progressive de-integration) in the manuscripts and early prints.

The individual contributions are broadly speaking chronological, beginning with Ernst Hellgardt's examination of what he terms Latin-German 'Textensembles' from the last third of the eleventh century until about 1200. The formally and functionally more or less integrated, interdependent or independent text-elements in both languages are scrutinized in several 'genres', but often the processes of transmission and copying obscure the original intentions of the 'author-compilers' of the textual types examined and make the modern editor's task hard. Hellgardt's reasonable premiss that there was a guiding principle behind collective manuscripts (28) is tempered by an awareness of the difficulty of discerning it and by judicious and careful exploration of the possibilities of doing so. Fritz Peter Knapp examines the language and audiences for spiritual writings in the dioceses of Passau and Salzburg from the late eleventh until the mid twelfth century. Knapp concludes (39) that we have no reason to attribute either the production or the reception of these texts to circles other than clerical and spiritual: secular elements can be interpreted in terms of lay and former lay-clerics (conversi) within the cloister and to contacts between cloister and the world outside. Apropos, one might wonder whether the Melker Marienlied is not appropriately placed before the 'Nekrolog', providing as it does comfort in the face of death? The more annalistic parts of the manuscript appear to have been added later. Peter Ochsenbein takes nine collections of 'Nonnenleben' to sample the role of Latin and German in the daily life of Dominican nuns of the Upper Rhine in the late Middle Ages. Generalizations are difficult, but it appears that the nuns' competence in Latin was mostly limited and, if anything, it declined, although the actual use of Latin, even by the 'illiterate' is attested in a repetitive, almost mantra-like function in collective worship to assist meditation. There is clearer anecdotal evidence in the Lives of German being used to express a more personal religiosity during collective worship, although few surviving personal prayer-books before 1400 are in German (49). Apparently private prayer took the recitation of focusing formulae as the point of departure for personal meditation, whether these (psalms, the Paternoster, the doxology) were Latin or German seems to have been immaterial. Wolfgang Milde considers the characteristics and arrangement of German book-titles in medieval 'library catalogues' and book-lists. Properly used, such lists can supplement our knowledge of the surviving primary texts and allusions to them and give guidance to their reception, so helping us to interpret them in cultural and literary historical studies. Gerold Hayer is inclined to see Konrad von Megenberg's famous proto-encyclopaedia, the Buch der Natur as indeed that: far from being an allegorizing hand-book for the preacher, most contexts of transmission imply lay interests - only a handful of owners of the over seventy manuscripts appear to have been clerics, and only one, an allegorizing monk from Fussen apparently sermonized using it. The iatric setting is to the fore, and Latin is used for the 'naughty bits' inappropriate to mention 'in gemeiner sprach' and tolerable only 'in seltener sprach' (70) - complementing Gottfried von Strassburg's views about the sensibility of noble ears. Ute Schwab's long contribution to the single sentence known as 'Hirsch und Hinde' combines a codicologically precise and illuminating account of the form and setting of this neumed text in its Latin manuscript with folklorist speculation about stag-cults and dances. Can a 'Hirschreigen' have formed part of a vigil in some celebration of the feast of St Peter in the late tenth century (96)? This is rightly left as a question, one which the (shifted) south German language would preclude from a Belgian setting, where the Everard cult flourished, as she notes (117 n. 156). While admiring the learning and welcoming the codicological clarification, one cannot help but feel disquiet at the mazy path being trod by this research in progress. In two casestudies Rudiger Schnell contrasts 'mentalities' evident in Latin and vernacular texts (127), trying it seems to clarify a 'volkssprachliches Weltbild'. The Latin writings about Charlemagne emphasize his German ethnicity, but vernacular texts emphasize his role as supranational Christian Roman Emperor fulfilling a divine role and Wolfram does not hesitate to present him as a 'Franzoys'. Does this perhaps reflect the general fashionableness of French culture in vernacular German literature? Or, as Schnell argues, differences in intellectual concerns between clerics and laymen, in social class and in literary/textual function? The interpretation of the Latin and German accounts of the electoral college of 'Kurfursten' is less clear-cut: the casting-vote of the King of Bohemia seems to persist in vernacular tradition (Muskatplut) despite its uncertain 'official' status. Hartmut Freytag examines autonomasia in the story of Gregorius: Hartmann von Aue adopts and elaborates the rhetorical device systematically to characterize the relationship between God, the Devil, and his hero; apart from Arnold of Lubeck's, the other versions omit it, which may relate to their brevity and their 'stilus humilis'. Antonomasia opens up a second 'window' of interpretation, highlighting significance of actions in another perspective, so when Gregorius leaves the monastery, the divine framework of 'Heilsgeschichte' ('salvation history') is invoked by the abbot's circumscription of God as 'der, der dich nach im gebildet hat', undermining the customary interpretation of the passus as an act of superbia (145). Other versions appear artistically less challenging, their figures less characterized - but Arnold of Lubeck, who embellishes from biblical and classical sources, and Hartmann may share the same poetic premisses, the Latin and German texts differ rather in their literary pretensions, possibilities, and expectations determined partly by the linguistic media (157). Paul Gerhard Schmidt shows the difficulties of detecting Germanisms in Latin dress - reports of visions or accounts of battles have often been enhanced by biblical or classical quotation by the clerical authors catering for a clerical audience. Vernacular and secular literature finds a place in monastic or cathedral libraries only for edifying purposes. The interesting Latin prose redaction Herzog Ernst C emerges as not a translation (against Moriz Haupt), but as a version of the story for a learned audience and skewed to be a hagiographical homage to Ernst's mother Adelheit who is invoked at the end of MS C. The true Germanisms of the text, German translations of recherche technical terms have, paradoxcally, been relegated to the notes by Haupt who has misunderstood the genre and faction of the Latin text! Ursula Hennig examines the relationship of German Marian poetry to the Latin sequence Planctus ante nescia and again sees the Latin form as a point of departure rather than a strict model - the German versions elaborate to create using an 'open' form. Hence a putative German 'Urklage' drew on the Latin sequence for its metrical and musical shape, but, unlike the Latin, it focused on the death of Christ; subsequently additional German strophes were incorporated in variant German versions, - and Latin strophes and prose passages as well. Renate Neumullers-Klauser looks at some early German inscriptions and attempts a partial typological study to make them accessible to other disciplines. The two basic types are inscriptions of patrons or donors on buildings and pictures, and edifying or educative sayings. The former category appeals for public recognition. Hans Ulrich Schmid compares later German translations of the Song of Songs with Wiiliram's paraphrase suggesting that the manuscripts stand in a southern German, Bav arian tradition and function as exegetical texts for adult members of monasteries. While a Prague manuscript appears to form a link between Williram and the versions discussed here by probably having used a Williram version (206-8), further work on this cluster of texts is necessary. Conveniently, Hartmut Beckers deals with the related topic of an unknown Ripuarian Franconian redaction of Williram's commentary from c. 1420-50, focusing on the history of linguistic changes in a mixed-language text from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. The Ripuarian text has replaced the mixed language of the commentary by translating the Latin parts into German - the presence of the Latin Vulgate and the Latin commentary sections suggests that this reflects a distaste ('sprachasthetisches Ungenugen', p. 221) for Mischprosa. The stemmatological place of the Cologne manuscript will only be determined after detailed comparison of all the other manuscripts - including a newly discovered second Cologne text from the same scriptohum which, happily, contains its missing final part. Jutta Fliege makes a plausible case for an early fifteenth-century Latin manuscript of the legend of Zeno and of the three Magi (now at Dessau) being a translation into Latin, possibly done at Magdeburg, of lost German versions of this composite and fantastic tale which otherwise survives only in later Middle Dutch, Eastfalian, and Middle High German manuscripts. The rhythmical prose reveals itself not as a literal translation, more a transposition whose interesting mixture of techniques, including rhyme, falls between the genres verse and prose. Freimut Loser identifies the second half of a prayer attributed to Meister Eckhart in a tract from Melk as a literal translation of Anselm of Canterbury's Orationes et Meditationes. This translation effected by a lay-brother Lienhart Peuger seems to have been part of a reform programme instigated at Melk to establish a library of vernacular spiritual texts. Peuger's translation is apt, accurate, and in fluent German, as an appendix shows (252-5). Unlike the less literal and highly wrought text of Johannes von Neumarkt, it caters for its audience by avoiding theological complexity - focusing on humility, not dangerous issues like personal freedom (244-5). Karl August Wirth's examination of the distribution of Latin and German glossing in an early illustrated fifteenth-century manuscript, a collection of only eight leaves with three thematically distinct iconographical traditions rather tantalizingly whets the 'appetite' for the third complex (fo. 8(r)) on the dangers of women. Extremely rare illustrations of the sin of Charlemagne and of the philosopher Secundus and his mother, with pruriently placed scroll, are reproduced on page 294, and Wirth also identifies a representation of the literary topos of Bernhard of Chartres illustrating the modems as a dwarf on the shoulders of a giant and convincingly interprets the only partially labelled depiction of the liberal arts and philosophy on leaf 6(r) in the light of the rubrics surrounding this 'macrocosmus'. Wirth's close reading of the disposition of the individual elements of the pictures suggests a mistrust of the ambiguity of images and a determination to tie the meanings down by a plethora of comment, where the distribution of German and Latin sometimes implies a hierarchy from the lowest level, the pictorial, via the German which identifies the scene, to the Latin sentences attributed to the authorities. Since the astrologically set 'Mundus' is on the front leaf of the manuscript, and the Wheel of Fortune on the last, it might appear that in between these two grindstones men are influenced and erratically buffeted by the operations of the one and the other. Klaus Kirchert (296-309) elucidates the Latin-German mixture in a collection of legal terms preserved in barbarous verse first edited by Wackemagel in 1831 - a rare example of a mixed-language 'Merkvers'. Following a Leipzig manuscript used by Julius Zacher he attempts a contextualization, explaining links with verses on birds and other animals and their vernacular interlinear glosses and with (later?) vocabularies like the 'Ex quo'. The juridical lines represent an innovation in that the German terms do not merely interpret the Latin text, as in other 'Sachwortsammlungen', but are incorporated within the base-text of the lines: there is apparently, no vernacular marginal or interlinear glossing (307). Occasionally the German word comes first, glossed by Latin (e.g. line 13 Stokken cippare (surely = 'put in the stocks', rather than 'ins Gefangnis'?), so perhaps German and Latin for the first time truly 'equivalent' in a legal text? Nigel Palmer's well-illustrated contribution to German and Latin in fifteenthcentury blockbooks (310-31) begins by defining the genre, where text and illustrations are carved from wooden blocks, not composed in moveable type, and printed without a press. The blockbooks emerge at about the same time as printing, in the second half of the century and constitute a link between medieval manuscripts and the illuminated prints of the later fifteenth and sixteenth century - 'chiro-xylographic' mixed forms contain both handwritten and block-printing. At present, the origins and main centres of these blockbooks are hard to identify; Palmer provides a helpful provisional list of the thirty-nine titles from about 1450 and 1530. The books themselves are predominantly pictorial, with sections of text integrated into them - they are difficult to separate from the single-sheet prints ('Einblattdrucke') or flysheets ('Flugblatter') which often contain German and Latin independently or in combination. The typology of the blockbooks in terms of picture and text is clearly demonstrated (but Abbildung 2, p. 332, represents, cf. p. 315, a variant of type two). Most interesting are the cases of copies of the Biblia pauperum or of the nine or ten Apocalypse blockbooks with interleaving on which German versions have been written to produce a synoptic parallel-language text - evidence Palmer thinks, of Middle and Upper German serial production of bilingual texts (323). But even the less systematic additions and synopses, rather than renditions of the Latin imply owners who clearly wanted their text in a form they could understand. A chronological development within Palmer's types is plausible (326): from the Latin blockbook via casual German glossing (or synopsis?); through the later addition of systematic German translation; to forms with both German and Latin text; to parallel Latin and German editions (sometimes with the same woodcuts); to (finally) the autonomous vernacular blockbook, - even though the oldest surviving blockbook appears to be the monolingual German 'Antichrist'. Establishing the provenance and former audience and owners of this type of text demands painstaking detective work on library catalogues, 'Besitzvermerke' and so on. Finally, Palmer's reconstruction of the content of a 'paradigmatic' collective volume belonging to an unknown Wroclaw owner contains specimens of almost all known types of blockbook except school grammar or the pilgrim's guide. This largely devotional volume, without practical medical or 'economic' works, suggests an educated owner, individual or institution, with some Latin education but requiring German for private edification or for the instruction of others. The systematic linguistic evaluation of these German texts remains a desideratum. Dorothea Klein returns to Latin teaching practice with reference to the so-called Versus memoriales in late medieval Latin-German vocabulary lists (337-50), illustrated by the (untypical) Alsatian lexicographers Fritsche Closener and Jakob Twinger von Konigshofen whose works have some 2000 and 5000 such memorial verses respectively! Such Latin mnemonic aides are a tested pedagogical ploy and occur even in vernacular texts. Klein distinguishes grammatical examp les; didacticmoralistic and sentential material (e.g. haurit aquas cribro, qui discere wit sine libro); quotation from classical and medieval poetry; and of flora, fauna, and the cosmological and medical universe. The sources are sometimes obvious, otherwise 'general knowledge' is being recycled. Exceptionally, German mnemonic verses and proverbs occur in Twinger's dictionary, plausibly a reflection of actual teaching practice involving a range of Latin and German combinations from literal translation to paraphrase and loose association. Both the verses themselves and much else in school was oral and depended on memory, indeed, dictionaries themselves are aides-memoire at the boundary between orality and the written texts. Supplementing this, Ulrike Bodemann considers the role of Latin and the vernacular as reflected in late medieval school grammars (351-9), reporting in the process on current research at Munster on pragmatic uses of literacy in the middle ages. To establish a typology of this material proves difficult because of overlapping forms, and only meticulous case studies can tease out the various functions: two examples are used here, one the Flores grammaticae of Ludolf de Luco, a Priscian-based treatise on syntax, and the other the Speculum grammaticae of Hugo and Conrad Spechtshart, on Latin morphology. The differing manuscript distribution and the character, consistency, and stability of their commentaries appended or integrated give clues as to whether the users were largely copying or taking down at dictation some given text or whether oral teaching was resulting in more variegated and spontaneous marginal glosses. It appears that some German comments clearly belong to the written tradition (355-6); moreover, German commentary is absent from the Flores. Here one wonders if this is not an indication of the greater sophistication and higher level of such Latin syntactic study - the typology of grammars demands to be 'graded', as were, no doubt, the pupils themselves. But commentaries too have regular features, and five basic, if ideal types are suggested - the cursory commenting of individual passages; the analytical dissection of the text's argument using tree-diagrams or bracketing; the adducing of further questions raised by the text but more or less as point of departure; the expositional commentary which can expound the text by paraphrase and synonymy, and where the boundaries are fluid between alternative phrasing and a full, even vernacular, translation; finally, the vocabulary list where the words of the passage are defined or explicated 'etymologically' (including their morphology), where again, German occurs. A typology of the commentary is necessary, Bodemann argues, both to support attempts to integrate vernacular modes of textual analysis into the Latin tradition, and as a prelude to the history of the medieval commentary as a genre. Monika Rossing-Hager concludes with a study of 'kitchen Latin' and purism in the early sixteenth century (360-86) in an attempt to assess the value of 'Latinisms' in Early New High German prose. She examines the consciousness of Latin-educated speakers towards their native German in the light of their own practice, taking as examples Johannes Aventinus, Friedrich Riederer, Beatus Rhenanus, Valentin Ickelsamer, and Martin Luther. It seems that the interrelationship of the two languages is more complex than commonly supposed - despite criticisms of the barbarous and inappropriate mixing of Latin and German, the authors themselves cultivate an educated Latinate elegance at times in deliberate contrast to non-Latin German syntax. Since Aventinus in his 1519 Latin grammar explicitly dismisses bad Latin as 'kuchilatein', is this perhaps why Luther in his Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen refers to Hieronyus Emser as 'der Sudler zu Dresen', that is, as a poor 'cook', striking at his defective Latinity? Or to Cochlaeus as 'Kochleffel'?

A General Bibliography would have lightened the footnotes and enhanced the usefulness, as well as making the contributions harmonize. Some contributions with a theoretical 'linguistic' analysis of type of discourse and the degree of interference and 'contamination' would have added perspective and overcome the surely artificial split between literary, cultural, and philological studies on the one hand and sociolinguist studies on the other and possibly underpinned the 'pragmatic' assumptions of some of the articles? Subsequently this is being done: interesting typological studies of the 'texts' used in early universities (teaching, administrative, research and public relations orientated) have recently been published by Jurgen Schiewe (Sprachenwechsel - Funktionswandel - Austausch der Denkstile. Die Universitat Freiburg zwischen Latein und Deutsch (Tubingen: Niemeyer, 1996)). The examination Latin and German in technical settings as 'internal diglossia' in the work of Uwe Porksen, with his concept 'Fachwerkstil' might prove illuminating for the earlier material examined here (see his 'Paracelsus als wissenschaftlicher Schriftsteller. Ist die deutsche Sachprosa eine Lehnbidung der lateinischen Schriftkultur?', in Parkins (ed.), Wissenschaftssprache und Sprachkritik. Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tubingen, 1994 = Forum fur Fachsprachen-Forschung, 22). While the editors presumably had only limited capacity to commission pieces, the various bi-lingual 'Conversations' - the Pariser and Casseler Gesprache - would have benefited from the scholarly wit evident in this excellent collection.

C. J. WELLS St Edmund Hall, Oxford
COPYRIGHT 1998 Oxford University Press
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Wells, C.J.
Publication:Notes and Queries
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1998
Words:3393
Previous Article:The Alexandreis of Walter of Chatillon.
Next Article:The Evolution of the Text.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters