ByWilliam C. McDonald
Pages 52

The German Arthurian romance has never been a stepchild of research. German Arthurian literature of the classical period is grist for reception theory, inasmuch as it was inspired by French source texts, most prominently the verse romances of Chretien de Troyes. German Arthuriana continued through the fifteenth century; examples are the verses by Ulrich Fuetrer, the prose romances, and the Shrovetide play. The theme of the Arthurian romance is the termination of imprisonment and, concurrently, the establishment of the freedom of human conduct. In the Arthurian romance, when kings, princes and counts appear as knights, this reflects not social reality, but ideology. Social influences behind the Arthurian romance are unquestionably important, and sometimes fundamental, to interpretation. Since very few of the German postclassical Arthurian romances are available in English or modern German, these should now take priority over further translations of canonical texts.