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Caroline Krüger

Concepts of medieval friendship in twelfth and thirteenth-century courtly literature

Personal Information

Date of Birth: 04.06.1980


Curriculum vitae

1999: Abitur (High School Diploma) 

1999-2000: enrolled as student in Medical Science, E.-M.-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

2000-2003: Bachelor of Arts in German Studies and History, E.-M.-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

2003-2004: Harvard University, Cambridge, German Studies

2004-2006: Master of Arts in German Literature and Magister Artium in German Studies and History, E.-M.-Arndt-Universität Greifswald (Master Thesis: Love as a disease: A special concept of love in Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance texts)

since  June 2006: Phd-Student of the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg Friends, Patrons, Clients, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


since June 2006: Scholarship as a Phd-student of the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg Friends, Patrons, Clients, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

2004-2006: Scholarship holder of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes

2003-2004: DAAD-Fellowship for studying in the USA


2004-2005: Tutor for Middle High German at the German Department, E.-M.-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

2001-2003: Student assistant at the German Department, E.-M.-Arndt-Universität Greifswald            

2002: Student apprentice at the Thomas-und-Heinrich-Mann Zentrum, Lübeck

Major interests

           - Cultural Anthropology / Culture Theory

           - Ancient and Medieval Concepts of Love

           - Courtly Literature in the High Middle Ages

           - Medieval motifs in Richard Wagner’s works

            - W.G. Sebald

PhD Thesis Project: Concepts of medieval friendship in twelfth and thirteenth-century courtly literature

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer

Tutor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Zotz

The dissertation will present an examination of friendship, kinship and patronage in the developing vernacular literature of the twelfth and thirteenth century. The court as central place of high medieval culture and as a realm of complex social and political relations is at the center of attention as well as the textual representations of friendship and kinship and the corresponding contexts.
In order to get a general account of courtly ideas of friendship in the High Middle Ages two model texts which represent the new literature at 1200 form the basis: Hartmann’s von Aue Arthurian romance Iwein and Gottfried’s von Straßburg Tristan. The new courtly romances comprise interesting questions for analysing anthropological matters for the reason that those texts discuss matters of topical interest according to current moral-ethical problems. Therefore it seems to be necessary to look at these literary texts from a historical-anthropological perspective and to employ chronological sources and especially theological works in order to read the texts with regard to the relevant contexts.
For examining medieval understanding of friendship it is most important to read the romances in terms of intellectual history: Which traditional ideas of friendship seem to be a point of reference? Is it possible to recognize new patterns which can be a hint of a changed understanding of friendship due to courtly culture? Does it make sense to distinguish Christian conceptions from ancient pagan thinking about friendship or do we have in fact a transfer of ideas and a transformation of traditional ancient values? What does a friend mean for the miles christianus whose first duty is practising charity and taking care for the poor? This question is of great importance insofar as the church fathers discussed the tension between ancient theories of friendship that concentrate on a personal relationship between two or three people and the general Christian commandment of all-embracing charity.
With regard to these conditions and the respective contexts the thesis, taking the courtly literature as a starting point for the examination, is going to describe high medieval concepts and semantics of friendship and its connection to kinship and dependent relations as vassals and patrons.

  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
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