Eilhart von Oberge Criticism - Essay

Frederick Whitehead (essay date 1959)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Whitehead, Frederick. “The Early Tristan Poems.” In Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History, edited by Roger Sherman Loomis, pp. 134-44. London: Oxford University Press, 1959.

[In the following excerpt, Whitehead contrasts versions of the Tristan legend by Eilhart and Béroul, claiming that Eilhart's German poem suffers in comparison because of its narrative abridgement and occasional psychological implausibility.]


Nineteenth-century scholars agreed in regarding the [Tristan] poems of Eilhart and Béroul as essentially a single version (version commune or version des...

(The entire section is 2700 words.)

Ann Trindade (essay date 1974)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Trindade, Ann. “The Enemies of Tristan.” Medium Aevum 63, no. 1 (1974): 6-21.

[In the following essay, Trindade discusses the narrative structure of the Tristan legend as it exists in poetic versions by Eilhart and others, placing particular emphasis on the function of antagonists in the story.]

The enemies of Tristan are many and varied in what are usually called the ‘primary’ versions of the legend. Their number and degree of individualization varies, and while the principal editions and studies of Tristan texts have included comments on individual variants as they occur, there has been, as far as I am aware, no study devoted entirely to this group of...

(The entire section is 8098 words.)

J. W. Thomas (essay date 1978)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Thomas, J. W. Introduction to Eilhart von Oberge's Tristrant, translated by J. W. Thomas, pp. 1-46. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978.

[In the following excerpt, Thomas encapsulates the manuscript tradition of Eilhart's Tristant and summarizes what is known of the poet's life. The critic continues by examining structure, style, narrative technique, and the theme of fate in the poem.]


Composed some time between 1170 and 1190, the Tristrant of Eilhart von Oberge is the earliest complete account of the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde and the version which, according to many scholars, most...

(The entire section is 10631 words.)

Friederike Wiesmann-Wiedemann (essay date 1980)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Wiesmann-Wiedemann, Friederike. “From Victim to Villain: King Mark.” In The Expansion and Transformations of Courtly Literature, edited by Nathaniel B. Smith and Joseph T. Snow, pp. 49-68. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980.

[In the following essay, Wiesmann-Wiedemann compares versions of the Tristan story by Eilhart, Thomas, and Gottfried with the prose French narrative source, arguing that Eilhart's work privileges the feudal order, while the other writers take elements of psychology, love, and action (respectively) as their main components.]

In her study of the Tristan story, Joan Ferrante compares corresponding episodes in different versions of...

(The entire section is 5902 words.)

James A. Schultz (essay date June 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Schultz, James A. “Why Does Mark Marry Isolde? And Why Do We Care? An Essay on Narrative Motivation.” Deutsche Vierteljahrs Schrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 61, no. 2 (June 1987): 206-22.

[In the following essay, Schultz studies the differing forms of narrative motivation employed by Eilhart and Gottfried in their versions of the Tristan legend.]

Although narrative motivation has only recently become a theoretical concern of literary scholars, it has always been a practical concern of storytellers, for anyone who tells a story must give some attention to the causal connections that join the events being recounted. It is not...

(The entire section is 8341 words.)

William C. McDonald (essay date 1988)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: McDonald, William C. “The Fool-Stick: Concerning Tristan's Club in the German Eilhart Tradition.” Euphorion: Zeitschrift für Literaturgeschichte 82, no. 2 (1988): 127-49.

[In the following essayt, McDonald interprets the symbolic significance of Tristan's club in Tristant and in later adaptations of the legend the followed Eilhart.]

Although critics have examined the Tristan poems of Eilhart von Oberge (fl. ca. 1170) and his followers through a wide variety of methodologies and critical approaches, a pervasive motif has largely gone unexplored: the large stick carried by the protagonist when he is dressed as a fool is placed in high relief....

(The entire section is 5168 words.)

Raymond J. Cormier (essay date 1990)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Cormier, Raymond J. “Eilhart's Seminal Tower of Pleasure.” Fifteenth-Century Studies 17 (1990): 57-63.

[In the following essay, Cormier comments on Eilhart's innovative retelling of the story-within-a-story of Gariole and Kehenis in his Tristant.]

Eilhart von Oberg postpones the dénouement of his tragic Tristan love story by inserting a cameo that mirrors the sad destiny of his main characters.1 This observation refers to the tale of Gariole and Kehenis, who find themselves deeply in love but thwarted by an evil, jealous husband.

In the words of Eilhart (as translated by J. W. Thomas, 137-38): “Not far from...

(The entire section is 3314 words.)

Mary Brockington (essay date April 1998)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Brockington, Mary. “Tristran and Amelius: False and True Repentance.” Modern Language Review 93, no. 2 (April 1998): 305-20.

[In the following essay, Brockington explicates a scene from the Tristan legend in which King Mark discovers the sleeping lovers in the forest, exploring the different approaches to the episode taken by Eilhart, Béroul, and Thomas.]

The scene in the Morrois forest, where the wronged husband, King Marc, sees Tristran and Yseut, the fugitive lovers, asleep, decides not to kill them, and retires silently, leaving tokens of his presence, is one of the most important in the whole Tristran tradition.1 The verse redactors,...

(The entire section is 3606 words.)