Introduction

Sarah Kay
New York University

The overall aims of this panel are to draw attention to the importance of the relations between French Literature, France and the Empire in the so-called “Blütezeit” of Medieval German literature, to underline the relative neglect into which these relations have fallen, and to point the way to possible future research. Given that many major medieval German texts have earlier antecedents in French, it was once common practice for Germanists (and to a lesser extent for Frenchists) to compare the nature and significance of works across the two languages, but this is now relatively rare. There is also less study of multilingualism and translation in Germanistik than there is in regards to French and English, or French and Italian. And yet the frontier between France and the Empire — the longest frontier of either realm – is problematic, because does not exactly coincide with linguistic boundaries between forms of French and forms of German, nor yet with where the production of texts and manuscripts in the two languages falls, nor even with the territories represented in those languages. Evidently large amount of literary material crossed over from French into German (and vice versa?), but by what means and with what effect?