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Erec by Hartmann von Aue
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Erec

by Hartmann von Aue

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English (3)  German (1)  All (4)
Showing 3 of 3
A German adaptation of the story of Erec from Chretien de Troyes in a straightforward modern English prose translation. . ( )
  antiquary | Apr 25, 2015 |
Though I have never been able to find it in my heart to like the hero of this book, Erec, I really enjoyed reading this for the second time. The nature of male-female relationships in the European Middle Ages makes Erec appear more chauvinistic than he is and my tendency is, therefore, to view him with scorn. Yet my favorite scene in the narrative is when Enite, upset by the belief that Erec is dead, screams when her "rescuer" tries to force her into matrimony and begins to get violent. Erec, awakened from unconsciousness by her screams, charges into the room in grave clothes, whips a sword off the wall, and starts lopping off heads to avenge Enite. The rest of those attendant scatter in terror. Erec redeems himself considerably by the end of the narrative. Even though I struggle to come to terms with the wide cultural gap between this late 12th century narrative and my 21st century understanding, I find this work well worth reading and will certainly return to it again. ( )
  Coffeehag | Oct 5, 2013 |
Note: I didn't actually read J.W. Thomas' translation, I read a different one, but I've read other translations by him, and they are generally good and interesting to read.

Hartmann von Aue's Erec is part translation, part reinterpretation of the work of Chrétien de Troyes. It's about 3,000 lines longer than Chrétien's poem, but it reads very much like it -- at least in translation -- and sticks quite closely to its source.

Erec's actions are no more comprehensible to me than in Chrétien's work, I have to say. His wife is loyal to him, and wants him to regain his renown. It's not her fault he stayed in bed having sex with her all day and all night: it takes two to do that. Still, I did enjoy reading both the original poem and this derivative work.

Oh, and if you're looking for a homoerotic description of jousting, look no further. I present to you this quotation from Hartmann's Erec:

"Once again the horses were spurred on strongly and forcefully and again sent against each other. Here arose heartfelt love that was after a great prize. They made love without a bed. The prize of their love was that whoever lay down was allotted death. With a lance through the shield to the breast they kissed each other with such passion that the ashen shafts splintered right down to the hand so that the chips flew like dust." ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Showing 3 of 3
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hartmann von Aueprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leitzmann, AlbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Resler, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, J. W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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bi ir und ir wiben.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812280741, Hardcover)

As the earliest Arthurian verse-novel in the German language, Hartmann von Aue's Erec was highly influential, not only on the many Arthurian works that followed, but also on courtly narrative verse in general. However, his tale is of more than antiquarian interest. Its subjects—the individual in conflict with society and the destructive force of possessive love—are modern, and its language, when transferred into prose, is more direct and lucid than most contemporary writing. Indeed, it was the conviction that the story deserved a much larger audience than that of medieval scholars which inspired this translation, the first into English.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:51 -0400)

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