Taking Flight: Gottfried's "Tristan", Arthurian Literature and Learning to Forget the Round Table

Taggart, Charles, German - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
McDonald, William, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia
Bennett, Benjamin, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia
Wellmon, Michael, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia
Spearing, Anthony, Department of English, University of Virginia

This dissertation is an examination of the Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg through the lens of five other French and German Arthurian Romances from the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. I begin with a comparison of Yvain by Chrétien de Troyes and Iwein by Hartmann von Aue with Gottfried’s Tristan. I suggest that these three texts problematize the capacity for fiction to signify to a listening audience. The following chapter introduces the idea of flight from the fetters of language through an examination of Chrétien’s Erec et Enide, Hartmann’s Erec and Gottfried’s Tristan. I then consider the presence and effects of texts in the adaptation of Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. The protagonist’s process of maturation involves not only learning about these texts but accepting the need to renounce them. In my final chapter, I look at the figure of King Mark in Tristan and his inescapable state of doubt and despair (zwîvel). In these three chapters, I investigate points of intersection between Tristan and the genre now termed Arthurian Romance in order to highlight several ways in which all these texts present language as both a burden but also a tool for escape.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Arthurian Romance, Gottfried von Strassburg, Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach, literary theory, poetics, Erec et Enide, Erec, Yvain, Iwein, Parzival, Tristan, Isolde, Mark, oratory, text, 12th century, 13th century
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: