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Albrecht Classen
University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ 85721-0001)
The Myth of Charlemagne in the History of Premodern German and Dutch Literature

This project will trace the development of the myth of the Germanic/Frankish ruler, Charlemagne, crowned Roman emperor in 800, in the history of German literature from ca. 1100 to ca. 1600. While the historian Klaus Oschema recently undermined the modern and rather popular assumption of Charlemagne having been the founder of the concept of Europe (Bilder von Europa, 2013), people are still, and perhaps more than ever before, striving for investing in this myth for political purposes. Only a few generations after Charlemagne's death in 814, both medieval France and medieval Germany rose out of the Frankish empire. On both sides the reference back to Charlemagne as their respective founder and forefather was of greatest significance. However, the image of Charlemagne changed throughout the time. Being a member of an international research team of medievalists, I have been charged with writing the book on the concept of Charlemagne in medieval German literature.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
German Literature; Literary Criticism; Medieval History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2014 – 8/31/2014