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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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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

‘Adventure? What Is That?’ On Iwein

‘Adventure? What Is That?’ On Iwein

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

Felicitas Hoppe

British Academy

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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