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Courtly culture : literature and society in the high Middle Ages /
Joachim Bumke ; translated by Thomas Dunlap.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1991.
ix, 770 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0520066340 (alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1991.
0520066340 (alk. paper)
general note
Translation of: Höfische Kultur.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 687-745) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Joachim Bumke is Professor of German at the University of Cologne
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1991-11-01:
Well received when it was originally published in Germany in 1986, this classic study by Joachim Bumke (Univ. of Cologne) is a systematic review of the link between the literary and social culture of Germany in the 12th and 13th centuries. The focus is on the accuracy of the descriptions of festive society at court, specifically of the material culture and mannerisms, by medieval writers of epic and poetic literature. Bumke's book covers different ground with considerably greater detail than the more readable Richard J. Berleth's The Orphan Stone: The Minne singer Dream of Reich ( LJ 9/1/90), which describes the attempts by German medieval poets to influence the attitudes of their time. Addressed to readers with specialized knowledge, Bumke's book will appeal to students of German medieval literature and historians. The translation is good, though some typos are evident. Recommended for all collections of medieval literature. --Ingrid Schierling, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1991-12:
Monumental, exhaustive, definitive. These are the qualifiers that come to mind as one peruses the medieval German scholar Bumke's astonishing and encyclopedic accomplishment (all the more because it was not carried out by a "collaborative team"). His sharp eye catches many interesting details. Virtually every aspect of courtly life, manners, and values is surveyed here from the societal hierarchies to the influence of French aristocratic culture; from manifestations of courtly material culture such as castles and tents, clothing, weapons and horses, and food and drink, down to courtly feasting and chivalrous ceremonies. The last 300 pages are devoted to a discussion of courtly ideals and virtues, including courtly love, and to the courtly literary scene oral tradition, secular writing under patrons, and the authors and the impact of their literature. The translation is competent and smooth. There are numerous well-chosen illustrations, especially from princely seals, but a listing would have facilitated reference to them. Appropriate for advanced undergraduate, graduate, and large public libraries.-R. J. Cormier, Wilson College
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 1991
Choice, December 1991
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
Every aspect of "courtly culture" comes to life in Joachim Bumke's extraordinarily rich and well-documented presentation. A renowned medievalist with an encyclopedic knowledge of original sources and a passion for history, Bumke overlooks no detail, from the material realities of aristocratic society -- the castles and clothing, weapons and transportation, food, drink, and table etiquette -- to the behavior prescribed and practiced at tournaments, knighting ceremonies, and great princely feasts. The courtly knight and courtly lady, and the transforming idea of courtly love, are seen through the literature that celebrated them, and we learn how literacy among an aristocratic laity spread from France through Germany and became the basis of a cultural revolution. At the same time, Bumke clearly challenges those who have comfortably confused the ideals of courtly culture with their expression in courtly society.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Fiction and Realityp. 1
Everyday life and the feast dayp. 1
Courtly society and modern scholarshipp. 5
Literature as a historical sourcep. 7
The "Praise of Times Gone By" (Laudatio temporis acti)p. 14
An overview of the bookp. 16
Noble Society of the High Middle Ages: Historical Backgroundp. 21
Basic Concepts of the Social Orderp. 22
The lawp. 22
Lordshipp. 23
Estatesp. 26
The Hierarchical Structure of Societyp. 29
The kingp. 29
The princesp. 31
The nonprincely nobilityp. 32
The ministerialsp. 33
The urban populationp. 36
The rural populationp. 38
The Economyp. 39
Economic developmentsp. 39
Trade and commercep. 41
The economic foundation of lordshipp. 43
The Knight and Knighthoodp. 46
Ritter-miles-chevalierp. 46
Noble knighthoodp. 49
The formation of the knightly classp. 50
The Courtp. 52
Itinerant lordship and the formation of permanent residencesp. 52
Court societyp. 55
The word "hofisch" (courtly)p. 57
The Adoption of French Aristocratic Culture in Germanyp. 61
Societyp. 61
Economic tiesp. 61
The state of educationp. 68
Dynastic connectionsp. 75
The adoption of French social formsp. 79
Languagep. 82
Language skillsp. 82
Loan wordsp. 85
Literaturep. 88
The chronology and geography of the transmission of French literaturep. 88
Courtly epicsp. 92
Courtly lyricp. 96
The characteristics of the literary adaptationp. 99
Material Culture and Social Stylep. 103
Castles and Tentsp. 103
The construction of castles and palaces in the twelfth and thirteenth centuriesp. 103
The architecture of castles and palacesp. 108
Furnishingsp. 112
Castles as instruments of lordshipp. 121
Luxurious tentsp. 126
Clothes and Clothp. 128
Dress codesp. 128
The sources for the history of costumep. 130
Precious fabricsp. 132
Sartorial extravagancep. 134
The courtly ceremony of dressp. 136
The beginnings of courtly fashionp. 138
Women's clothesp. 140
Men's clothesp. 145
Changes in fashionp. 150
Criticism from the Churchp. 152
Weapons and Horsesp. 155
The history of armamentp. 155
The main weapons of a knightp. 157
The social significance of weaponsp. 164
The ceremony of knightly single combatp. 168
Horsesp. 175
Food and Drinkp. 178
Food for the nobilityp. 178
The protocol of the courtly banquetp. 182
Seating arrangementsp. 183
Service at tablep. 187
Tablewarep. 191
The organization of the mealp. 193
Courtesy booksp. 196
Literature of feasting and carousingp. 199
Courtly Feasts: Protocol and Etiquettep. 203
Court Feastsp. 203
The court feast at Mainz in 1184p. 203
Feast and lordshipp. 207
Lodging and foodp. 210
The festive entrancep. 213
The ceremony of welcomep. 219
Courtly entertainmentp. 220
Giftsp. 228
Knighting Ceremoniesp. 231
Terminology and ceremonyp. 231
The courtly ceremony of knightingp. 234
The role of the Churchp. 239
From royal practice to mass promotionp. 242
Tournamentsp. 247
The beginnings of tournamentsp. 247
The mass tournament or meleep. 251
The buhurtp. 258
The single joust and the Round Table tournamentp. 260
The military, social, material, and political significance of tournamentsp. 264
Prohibitions and criticism of tournamentsp. 271
The Courtly Ideal of Societyp. 275
The Chivalrous Knightp. 276
The traditional image of the rulerp. 276
The religious concept of knighthood (militia Christi)p. 290
Courtly virtuesp. 301
Ideal and realityp. 311
The Courtly Ladyp. 325
The new image of womenp. 325
Instruction for women: Upbringing and educationp. 337
The parameters of women's activitiesp. 346
Courtly Lovep. 360
What is courtly love?p. 360
Love-marriage-adulteryp. 377
Love and societyp. 398
Criticism of Courtly Lifep. 415
The Literary Scene of the Courtly Agep. 425
Oral Culture and Literacy in Courtly Societyp. 426
Lay educationp. 426
Oral traditionsp. 436
The development of organized writing at the secular courtsp. 441
Patrons and Sponsorsp. 458
The imperial court as a literary centerp. 459
The patronage of princesp. 470
The smaller courtsp. 485
The beginnings of literary life in the citiesp. 487
Author and Audiencep. 488
The social standing of the poetp. 488
The courtly audiencep. 506
The impact of literaturep. 512
The Performance and Spread of Literaturep. 518
Courtly epicp. 518
Courtly lyricp. 545
Notesp. 573
Glossaryp. 679
Abbreviationsp. 681
Bibliographyp. 687
Indexp. 747
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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