Tristan himself is technically the love-child of a pair of lovers whose embracing of the struggle and yearning that love requires clearly inspires the admiration of Gottfried. As Tristan learns that he is the son of Rivalin, and so the rightful lord of Parmenie, he decides to avenge the murder of his father as his first duel. In that duel, he kills the brother of the Irish queen, and the only one who can cure him of the poisoned wound he sustained, and that is how he first comes into contact with that great lady, Queen Isolde, and the beautiful daughter who bears her name. They heal him, and he comes to admire young Isolde as he is employed as her tutor, so when he returns to England, his talking about her inspires Mark that she should be his queen. Tristan returns to the country to kill its dragon, and thereby secure her for his king. King Mark is constantly presented with the possibility by two power-hungry members of court, and the lovers are constantly outsmarting them.

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Its source was the Roman de Tristan by the… The dates of his birth and death are unknown, and the only information about him consists of references to him in the work of other poets and inferences from his own work. The breadth of learning displayed in Tristan und Isolde reveals that he must have enjoyed the fullest education offered by the cathedral and monastery schools of the Middle Ages.

Together with the authoritative tone of his writing, this background indicates that, although not himself of noble birth, he spent his life in the society of the wellborn. Tristan was probably written about Gottfried is thus a literary contemporary of Hartmann von Aue , Walther von der Vogelweide , and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

The first German version is that of Eilhart von Oberg c. The core of this ideal, which derives from the romantic cult of woman in medieval courtly society, is that love minne ennobles through the suffering with which it is inseparably linked. This ideal Gottfried enshrines in a story in which actions are motivated and justified not by a standard ethic but by the conventions of courtly love.

Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. This article was most recently revised and updated by J. Luebering , Executive Editorial Director. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.


Gottfried von Strassburg

Life[ edit ] Other than an origin in or close association with Strasbourg , nothing is known of his life. It would seem, however, that he was a man of good birth and position, who filled an important municipal office in his native city of Strasbourg, [1] but since he is always referred to in German as Meister master and not Herr sir , it seems safe to assume he was not a knight, a conclusion supported by the rather dismissive attitude toward knightly exploits shown in Tristan. His thorough familiarity with Latin literature and rhetorical theory suggest someone who had enjoyed a high level of monastic education. He also shows detailed technical knowledge of music and hunting, far beyond anything found in the works of his contemporaries. Gottfried draws more on the learned tradition of medieval humanism than on the chivalric ethos shared by his major literary contemporaries. He also appears to have been influenced by the writings of contemporary Christian mystics , in particular Bernard of Clairvaux. Although he was highly educated, it is almost certain that he was not a priest.


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