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This study explains how the Volksbuch developed from the medieval courtly romance under the influence of complex sociological, economic, technological, and cultural factors during the 15th century and became an art form in its own right. The new genre was characterized by a wide range of styles, from the earthy plot and language of "Till Eulenspiegel" to the formal style and moralistic didacticism of the "Magelone". The study goes on to examine the history of the genre's critical evaluation from the Romantic period to the present, providing a close-up survey of the history of German literary scholarship. It also discusses four major representatives of the genre: Thuring von Ringoltingen's "Melusine", the anonymous "Fortunatus", "Till Eulenspiegel", and "Historia von D. Johann Fausten". This book should interest not only students and scholars of German, but also those interested in the social, historical, and mental transition of Germany from the late Middle Ages to the modern age.
Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
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