Three Political Tales from Medieval Germany
Title Details

202 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Series Vol. Number: 239

Imprint: Camden House

Three Political Tales from Medieval Germany

Duke Ernst, Henry of Kempten, and Reynard the Fox

Edited and translated by Brian Murdoch

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Accurate and entertaining translations of three texts that reveal much about medieval political thought and remain relevant to today's political systems



Recent political events around the world, not least January 6, 2021, have shown that political systems long thought to be resilient can be surprisingly at risk. This edition offers an introduction to and prose translations of three texts that demonstrate just how precarious things can be even in a rigidly structured society (here the medieval Holy Roman Empire).


The texts, the anonymously authored Duke Ernst, Konrad of Würzburg's Henry of Kempten, and Heinrich's Reynard the Fox, are also literary works, designed to entertain. Two of them are adventure stories, but carry a message about the care needed to prevent the escalation of violence; the third is a bleak warning against unscrupulous advisors. As works of literature they are varied.


The first moves from recognizable history to develop into an early fantasy novel, as the central character goes boldly to distant places outside the known world and meets, fights with, and learns from strange and alien creatures, before returning to the "real" world. The second, a novella, is ostensibly about chivalric bravery, but it is set in a pre-chivalric period, and shows how (then as now) a trivial incident can escalate towards disaster. The third is an animal fable, part of the extensive tradition of Reynard the Fox, initially familiar, but developing into a violent and dark tale that ends with the death of a king.
Preface
Introduction (with Bibliographical Notes)

Duke Ernst
1 The Young Nobleman
2 The Rebel
3 The Exile
4 The Citadel of the Cranes
5 A Perilous Journey
6 A New King and New Challenges
7 The Crusader
8 The Penitent Restored

Konrad von Würzburg, Henry of Kempten

Heinrich, Reynard the Fox
1 The Fox and the Cockerel
2 The Fox and the Bluetit
3 The Fox and the Crow
4 The Fox and the Dogs
5 The Fox and the Tomcat
6 The Fox and the Wolf
7 The Fox and the She-Wolf
8 The Wolf and the Ham
9 The Wolf and the Wine
10 The Fox and the Ass (incomplete)
11 Kunin
12 The Wolf's Tonsure
13 The Wolf Goes Fishing
14 The Fox, the Wolf, and the Well
15 A Day in Court
16 The Rape of the She-Wolf
17 The Ants and the Lion
18 The Great Assembly and the Saintly Chicken
19 The Bear and the Honey
20 The Tomcat and the Mice
21 The Badger, the Fox, and the Sick Lion
22 The Elephant and the Camel
23 The Murder of the King

BRIAN MURDOCH is Emeritus Professor of German at Stirling University, Scotland. He is the author of many books, including titles for both Camden House and D.S. Brewer.

"This translation of medieval political texts enables them to transcend eight centuries and speak to us today about mis- and disinformation, lies, and deception. As such these new translations are dynamic, fresh, and surprisingly contemporary." Professor Ernst Hintz, Truman State University
"[This edition] fills the ever-present need for well-written, accessible translations of shorter medieval texts that can be easily incorporated into any number of courses on medieval history, literature, philosophy, or even political science." William T. Whobrey, Yale University

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Title Details

202 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Series Vol. Number: 239

Imprint: Camden House