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George Parker Winship Lecture

In this lecture, Professor Ludger Lieb will introduce the Heidelberg Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 933 project ‘Material Text Cultures.’ Focusing on the close links between written texts, material artifacts and related practices, he will reframe reading as only one, and not always the most important practice in connection with script-bearing artifacts. Several examples from medieval narratives dealing with written artifacts will demonstrate the intriguing spectrum of such practices; ranging from injuring with letters to healing with manuscripts; from uncovering a crime to the desire to possess a written artifact; from the appearance of scripts to their spiriting away; from marveling at a written artifact to destroying it. There are some well-known motifs like the Menetekel, the Holy Grail or the hound’s leash in Wolfram’s Parzival, as well as lesser-known examples like the script imaginations of the mystics or the emerging writing of God in Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheimer Altar.

About the speaker

Ludger Lieb is Chair of German Medieval Studies (Literature and Philology) at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, Director of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 933 ‘Material Text Cultures,’ and responsible for the sub-project C05 ‘Inscriptionality: Reflections of Material Text Culture in the Literature of the 12th to 17th Centuries’. His research interests are courtly epics of the High Middle Ages (Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Straßburg), German love poetry, editions of late medieval ‘Minnereden’ (love discourses) and Aesopian fables.
This lecture is co-sponsored by Houghton Library and the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies.