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The Middle Ages in the Modern WorldTwenty-first century perspectives$
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Bettina Bildhauer and Chris Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266144

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266144.001.0001

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‘Adventure? What Is That?’ On Iwein

‘Adventure? What Is That?’ On Iwein

Chapter:
(p.105) 5 ‘Adventure? What Is That?’ On Iwein
Source:
The Middle Ages in the Modern World
Author(s):

Felicitas Hoppe

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266144.003.0006

Felicitas Hoppe gives an introduction to the art of adapting medieval poetry that is in itself a poetic work. In 2008, Hoppe adapted Hartmann von Aue’s Arthurian romance Iwein into a highly successful young adult novel. She speaks about this experience and about the art of adapting medieval literature more generally: about encountering popular images of knights looking like ladies and about inverted gender roles in Hartmann’s romance; about history as produced by wishes; about finding Iwein by chance in a bookshop and being captivated by its beauty; about the romance’s surprising timelessness in its psychologically astute characterisation, its sensible rationality and its uncompromising morality; about the dialectic between boredom and adventure, between the desire to grow up and the fear of growing up in all good children’s books (and Arthurian romances); about the relationship between honour and masculinity in the romance code of values; about Iwein’s insistence on physicality; and about narrative techniques for modernising the text (including the introduction of Iwein’s companion, the lion, as the narrator). As a whole, Hoppe’s piece is a remarkably sensitive analysis of how and why aspects of medieval literature exert a fascination on creative minds. It compellingly demonstrates the wealth of insights that adaptors of medieval texts gain, which can complement and inspire those of literary critics.

Keywords:   Hartmann von Aue, Iwein, medievalism, adaptation, narrative, young adult novels

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