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The life and the autobiographical poetry of Oswald von Wolkenstein

Robertshaw, Alan Thomas (1973) The life and the autobiographical poetry of Oswald von Wolkenstein. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Although Germanists are indebted to the writer and dilettante historian Beda Weber for initiating research into Oswald von Wolkenstein, Weber’s biography of Oswald (1850), more a historical novel than a work of scholarship, has impeded the task of establishing a true picture of the poet’s life and personality by creating what Karl Kurt Klein has called the ‘myth of Oswald’. This thesis sets out to contribute to the reappraisal of Weber’s populary accepted image of Oswald, paying particular attention to his life and political career in Tyrol and his service of the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. Chapter I, after giving a brief survey of Oswald research to date, outlines Weber’s picture of the poet as an idealist devoted to chivalry, Minne and service of the Empire. Oswald’s life and personality are considered in the next two chapters, which correspond to the two principal sources of information. Chapter II investigates the documentary evidence (including some hitherto unpublished material) of Oswald’s life at home and his political activities. Chapter III attempts a reassessment of the poems which reflect his involvement in, and attitude towards, political events. A shift of emphasis is observed from the lighthearted tone of the songs composed during his travels in Sigismund's service to the more serious mood of those inspired by experiences in his conflict with the Prince of Tyrol. These poems confirm the impression gained from historical documents that Oswald's main preoccupation was not with imperial politics, but with local affairs which affected him personally and materially. This third chapter also offers a reinterpretation of those poems in which Oswald refers to his love affair with his neighbour Sabina Jäger, who eventually became an ally of his enemies in Tyrol. All the poems dealt with in Chapter III are submitted to stylistic and linguistic analysis. The conclusion (Chapter IV) lists the amendments to Oswald's biography which the thesis has proposed, outlines his personality as it has emerged from the discussion of documents and poetry, and attempts a brief assessment of him as a man and a poet.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 09:31

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