Undergraduate Course

The Oxford undergraduate course offers a wide range of options dealing with the language and literature of Germany in the Middle Ages. There is a medieval set-text option (based on the 'Nibelungenlied', Wolfram von Eschenbach: 'Parzival', the poems of Der Stricker, and Minnesang), the Medieval Period of Literature from the beginnings to 1450, Old High German, the History of the German Language, and special subjects on Germanic philology (Old High German combined with Gothic, Old English or Old Saxon), Walther von der Vogelweide and the origins of the German love lyric, Gottfried's Tristan and medieval German court society, and Mechthild von Magdeburg and womens's writing in German 1150-1300. For first degrees in Modern Languages see the Undergraduate Prospectus.

Graduate Studies

Oxford has four medievalists with permanent, full-time posts, and is therefore able to offer a wider range of study than any other university in the United Kingdom. We are able to offer supervision in any area of literary or linguistic study from the beginnings to 1500, but it is preferable that applicants for research degrees should aim to work on topics which overlap with research interests already represented at Oxford.

The Graduate Seminar in Medieval German meets weekly during term to discuss research papers on a wide range of topics, and is regularly attended by academic staff, academic visitors, graduate students and by German visiting students. Recent seminars have been devoted to the ‘Manessische Handschrift', Misogyny and antifeminism, Ulrich von Zatzikhofen's Lanzelet, German hagiography, Der Mönch von Salzburg, Wirnt von Grafenberg's Wigalois, Middle High German religious narratives in couplet verse, Authorship in the Middle Ages, Heinrich von dem Türlin: Diu Crône.

The courses on offer include the M.St. in European Literature (one year), the M.Phil. in European Literature (two years), and the D.Phil. (three or four years), which are described in the Graduate Prospectus. It is possible to do Medieval German options in the M.St. in Women's Studies.

Oxford provides for the advanced study of Medieval German within the broader context of Medieval Studies in other languages and other faculties, and there are opportunities to attend lectures throughout the university, interdisciplinary seminars, as well the Medieval Studies seminars of other faculties and the university's Medieval Society.

Visiting Students

Students from abroad are welcome to come to Oxford to engage in studies in Medieval German for a shorter period of at least one year, not necessarily following a prescribed course that leads to an examination. European students from the EC who, at the time of coming to Oxford, have studied for six semesters or less can apply to be admitted to a college as an Undergraduate visiting student, and may qualify to have their fees paid by the European Community. Those who have studied for a longer period can apply to be admitted as a Graduate visiting student. There is a very restricted number of places for visiting students, and it is essential to apply twelve months in advance. An attractive alternative proposition for the one-year visitor is to take an M.St. (Masterof Studies). These courses are not subject to the same restrictions of numbers as places for visiting students. To qualify for admittance you need academic standing equivalent to a good British B.A. degree (which is taken after four years of study). The language of instruction is in general English, but written work and dissertations on topics relating to German language and literature can, with approval from the faculty board, be in German. For details email or write to any of the university teachers listed below. For application forms and the official literature on courses contact the Graduate Admissions Office, University Offices, Wellington Sq., Oxford OX1 2JD, or email Or write to the Modern Languages Graduate Studies Office, 37 Wellington Sq., Oxford OX1 2JF.

Library Facilities

The main Modern Languages library is the Taylorian, which contains one of the richest collections of books relating to the study of medieval European languages in the world. The library has a Medieval Manuscript Microfilm Archive containing much unpublished material, especially for medieval German. The Bodleian Library is a library of international standing, with the finest collection of books relating to medieval studies in the United Kingdom, as well as a rich collection of manuscripts and early printed books, including a number of famous medieval German original manuscripts, such as the 'Murbacher Hymnen', Junius's manuscript of the Old High German Tatian translation, the 'Paradisus animae intelligentis' (with the early sermons of Meister Eckhart) and the principal manuscript of 'Der Heiligen Leben'. There are extensive collections of manuscripts from Germany as well as many individual items which have not yet been fully researched. The principal electronic databases relating to medieval studies, such as the Patrologia Latina Database, the Cetedoc Library of Christian Latin Texts, In Principio, and the DBILink are accessible on terminals in the Bodleian Library and, where this is permitted, networked throughout the university

University and College teaching staff in Medieval German

Nigel F. Palmer, M.A., D.Phil., F.B.A., Professor of German Medieval and Linguistic Studies and Fellow of St Edmund Hall. Email: Homepage: Postal address: St Edmund Hall,Oxford OX1 4AR. Research interests: Palaeography and codicology, German and Latin, Middle High German romance, religious literature and mysticism, the Cistercian order, monastic literature in SW Germany.

Almut Suerbaum, M.A., Dr.phil., Faculty Lecturer in Medieval German and Fellow of Somerville College. Email: Postal address: Somerville, Oxford OX2 6HD.Research interests: Arthurian romance; dialogue literature; women's writing.

Annette Volfing, M.A., D.Phil.,University Lecturer in Medieval German and Fellow of Oriel College. Email: Postal address: Oriel College, Oxford OX1 4EW.Research interests: Allegory, religious literature,‘Spruchdichtung' and ‘Meistergesang'.

Christopher J. Wells, M.A.,University Lecturer in Germanic Philology and Medieval German Literature. Email: Postal address: St Edmund Hall, OxfordOX1 4AR. Research interests: Germanic philology, history of the German language, heroic epic and the ‘Nibelungenlied'.

Last updated 17 May 2002.