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What Makes A Marriage: Consent Or Consummation In Twelfth-Century German Literature

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Chapter Summary

The German narrative of St. Oswald belongs to a group of pre-courtly German epics commonly referred to as minstrel epics because scholars considered them to be compositions of lay minstrels or jongleurs. This chapter focuses on the representation of marriage in the German bridal-quest epics. It outline how the idea of marriage and especially that of chaste marriage appears in the works and then suggest possible reasons that may explain the predominance of the chastity motif in twelfth-century Germany. The chapter argues that Salman und Morolf, similar to the other German bridal-quest epics, promotes the idea that marital intercourse should solely serve the purpose of procreation and not the satisfaction of sexual desire or passion. The quest in König Rother is the only one to observe the inherent logic of the bridal-quest paradigm as it results in a consummated marriage and the fathering of an heir.

Keywords:chaste marriage; consummation; König Rother; Salman und Morolf; twelfth-century German literature



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