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Grenzüberschreitungen: Begegnungen mit der wilden Frau in dem mittelhochdeutschen Epos "Wolfdietrich B"

Daniela Hempen
Monatshefte
Vol. 89, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 18-30
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30153586
Page Count: 13
Topics: Epics, Hats, Nuns, Art museums
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Grenzüberschreitungen: Begegnungen mit der wilden Frau in dem mittelhochdeutschen Epos "Wolfdietrich B"
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Abstract

This article examines the role of the Wild Woman in the Middle High German epic Wolfdietrich B (about 1250). As the relationship between the knight Wolfdietrich and the "rûhe" Else demonstrates, the danger and attractiveness of the Wild Woman lies in her power to blur the strictly demarcated boundaries between the medieval concepts of "civilization and wilderness," "human and animal," and "masculinity and femininity." By turning Wolfdietrich into a madman, roaming the woods like a wild animal, the "rûhe" Else isolates him from medieval courtly society and subjects him to her control. Yet, despite her unique power and her seemingly subversive role, the Wild Woman is not permitted to pose any ultimate threat to medieval civilization. Wolfdietrich B shows that the Wild Woman is subject to (her feminine) nature and that she can be turned into a conventional courtly lady through her initiation into a Christian civilization.

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