This new study brings recent scholarly debates on oral cultures and literate societies to bear on the earliest recorded literature in German (800-1300). It considers the criteria for assessing what works were destined for listeners, what examples anticipated readers, and how far both modes of reception could apply to one work. The opening chapters review previous scholarship, and the introduction of writing into preliterate Germany. The core of the book presents lexical and non-lexical evidence for the different modes of reception, taken from the whole spectrum of genres, from dance songs to liturgy, from drama and heroic literature to the court narrative and lyric poetry. The social contexts of reception and the physical process of reading books are also considered. Two concluding chapters explore the literary and historical implications of the slow interpenetration of orality and literacy.
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(228mm x 152mm x 28mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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