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Zwei ostmitteldeutsche Bearbeitungen lateinischer Prosadenkmaler: Eine anonyme deutsche Ubersetzung des 'Buches von Troja nach Guido de Columnis.'

Ed. by Hildegard Bokova and Vaclav Bok; Der ostmitteldeutsche Traktat |Welch furste sich unde syne erbin wil in synem furstethum festin' nach Aegidius Romanus, |De regimine principum'.

Whereas no one would deny that the Trojan War is one of the great international themes of European literature, the German-language contribution has never been accorded the attention it deserves. To this day there is no typographically acceptable edition of the Liet von Troje by Herbort von Fritzlar, and the most remarkable poem of all, the Trojanerkrieg of Konrad von Wurzburg, with over 40,000 lines, can only be read in a scarce edition of 1877, the reprint of which has been out of print for years. This splendid publication, which is both a reference work and a sequence of contributions to our understanding of the German vernacular romances and histories of Troy, goes quite a bit of the way towards putting matters right. It deserves to be widely used -- and imitated (for example, for the French and Italian vernaculars). And as the poems and prose works too deserve to be widely read, it should be followed by some decisive steps on the editorial front.

Nine studies, by different hands, make up the volume. First there is a repertorium of the 193 extant German vernacular texts dealing with Troy from the beginnings to the sixteenth century, providing details of authorship, origin, a synopsis of each work, sources, reception, manuscripts, editions and secondary literature. There are nine entries for verse romances and universal histories from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, seventeen for the late mediaeval prose versions, seven for prose and verse translations from the sixteenth century; the rest are songs and a variety of other poetic texts (with a good deal of Hans Sachs) from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century. This is followed by a study of allusions to the story of Troy in other works (with a documentary appendix); an edition of the section on Troy from the chronicle of Johannes Platterberger the Younger and Theoderich Truchsess (1459), of which there is a copy in the Bodleian; an essay on Herbort von Fritzlar; a critical catalogue and study of the manuscripts of Konrad von Wurzburg's Trojanerkrieg, a study of the Trojan material in selected verse chronicles (|The romance of antiquity as historical information); a study of the German prose Buch von Troja I as a source of the chronicle of Jakob Twinger von Konigshofen; a study of individual episodes in Ulrich Fuetrer's Trojanerkrieg, and, finally, a comparative study of the Latin texts of Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis (which is out of place here and might better have been published in a journal).

The East Central German prose version of Guido de Columnis published by the Boks is |Anonymous Translation II' (no. 17) in the terminology of Brunner's volume, dating perhaps from the first quarter of the fifteenth century. It makes up the first part (pp. 9-187) of the volume, the second part being Uta Stormer's edition of an East Central German prose translation of the influential mirror of princes by Giles of Rome (datable on the basis of a dated manuscript to before 1435, and described a trifle optimistically by the editor as |Ende 14./Anfang 15. Jh.). The volume was produced |zu DDR-Zeiten' but issued after reunification -- at an extortionate price (given the quality of the paper and cover), and cheating the purchaser doubly by compelling the students of Guido de Columnis to pay for the completely unrelated work by Giles of Rome (and vice-versa). This is made good by the quality of the editions, both meticulously executed and accompanied by the indispensable apparatus of introduction, manuscript descriptions, textual history, analysis of translation technique, linguistic analysis, facsimile, index of names, glossary (the latter skimped rather by Stormer) that editors in a hurry often fail to provide. This tradition of the Deutsche Texte des Mittelalters deserves to be preserved, and these two editions of texts originating in the eastern part of Germany and written in the East Central German dialect set a high standard of scholarship with regional focus which it would be good to see preserved in the universities of eastern Germany and Czechoslovakia (even if Guido and Giles should not have been published together).
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Author:Palmer, Nigel F.
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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