Work of the Fellows: Monographs;

A Courtier’s Mirror: Cultivating Elite Identity in Thomasin Von Zerclaere’s “Welscher Gast”

Starkey, Kathryn (Fellow, 2008-09)

Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2022

From the publisher's description:

A Courtier's Mirror establishes the unique importance of Thomasin von Zerclaere's Welscher Gast as a document of social practices and concerns in medieval German-speaking court society. This epic-length illustrated didactic poem enjoyed immense popularity in the Middle Ages, resulting in twenty-five redactions produced over two hundred and fifty years. Through a detailed study of word and image, Kathryn Starkey argues that this poem offered instruction, affirmation, and an evolving image cycle in which courtly behaviors were effectively conveyed. As the first book-length study in English, A Courtier's Mirror not only provides a framework for understanding the Welscher Gast and its images, but further explores the rich manuscript reception of the poem and the careful cultivation of a distinct elite identity.

Subjects: History; Literature; Literary Criticism;; Epic Poetry; Middle Ages; Nobility; Royal Courts; Didacticism;