Gottfried von Strassburg Analysis

Other literary forms

(European Poets and Poetry)

The only surviving works attributable to Gottfried von Strassburg (GOT-freed vawn STROS-boorg) are poems. Scholars believe Gottfried composed other poetry besides Tristan and Isolde, but they disagree about which surviving poems can be attributed to him. It is thought, however, that he composed several shorter works in the tradition of the Minnesänger, German lyric poets whose principal subject was love.


(European Poets and Poetry)

Gottfried von Strassburg is known for a single poem, but that work is one of the most significant among surviving poetry of the Middle Ages. Tristan and Isolde has been called the greatest courtly love poem extant. Written in an intricate style filled with irony and allusion, the poem celebrates the virtues of human love and cautions against its perils. What is particularly noteworthy is Gottfried’s ability to graft onto the story of Tristan and Isolde a sophisticated commentary on the influence of love; his observations display a keen psychological insight into the nature of this human drive. Furthermore, his recurring critique of the literature of his own day suggests something about the nature of literary practice at the end of the twelfth century.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Batts, Michael S. Gottfried von Strassburg. New York: Twayne, 1971. An excellent introduction to Gottfried’ life and times with an interpretive focus on his Tristan and Isolde and on the legend in general. Contains a bibliography.

Batts, Michael S. “Research Since 1945 on Gottfried’s Tristan.” Tristania: A Journal Devoted to Tristan Studies 9 (Autumn-Spring, 1983-1984). An English bibliography.

Bekker, Hugo. Gottfried von Strassburg’ “Tristan”: Journey Through the Realm of Eros. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1987. An analysis of the the medieval concept of love in Gottfried’ Tristan and Isolde.

Chinca, Mark. Gottfried von Strassburg: “Tristan.” Chinca, a professor of medieval literature, has published several books and essays on Gottfried. This concise introduction for students compares Gottfried’ approach to literary tradition with that of previous writers and examines the reception of Tristan and Isolde by contemporaries and later writers.

Chinca, Mark. History, Fiction, Verisimilitude: Studies in the Poetics of Gottfried’ “Tristan.” London: University of London, 1993. Close readings of Tristan and Isolde.

Hall, Clifton D. A Complete Concordance to Gottfried von...

(The entire section is 558 words.)