The examination of the context of medieval sermons exercised in this volume focuses on the dominant influences, the use of literary forms and types, the adaptation of theological subject matter for proclamation from the pulpit, the interaction between word, writing and image, and the relation between sermons in practice and their written forms. Devotio moderna and the field of Latin sermons figure prominently in the overall layout.
With reference to the reception accorded to Freidank, this study investigates the transformation of an historical author into a figure inscribed into cultural memory with a clearly delineated set of features and competencies. Initially no more than a reference in a corpus of edifying Sprüche, Freidank's name gradually turned into a symbol of veracity and God-fearing living in the course of a long receptive process extending from the 14th to the 17th century. Freidank thus attained the status of an authority. Similar processes of semiotization and ascriptions of significance are observable in the reception accorded to Wolfram von Eschenbach and Neidhart. Accordingly, these figures are drawn upon for purposes of comparison.
This work extensively describes for the first time the narrative meaning and integration of proverbs in the courtly Arthurian, grail, and Tristan novels of the High Middle Ages. Proverbs play an important role in the works of Wolfram von Eschenbach or Hartmann von Aue as "microtexts": they "evaluate" plot sequences, thus building a bridge between the fictional world of the text and the real world of the reader by connecting the generally accepted "knowledge of the world" of the audience with the narrated events in an exciting way.