Self-Control, Rationality, Ethics, and Mutual Respect: A Dominican Poet Addresses His Audience and Calls Them to Reason. Ulrich Bonerius's The Gemstone (1350)
AffiliationUniversity of Arizona, Department of German Studies
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PublisherIstanbul University Faculty of Letters
CitationClassen, A. (2022c). Self-Control, Rationality, Ethics, and Mutual Respect: A Dominican Poet Addresses His Audience and Calls Them to Reason. Ulrich Bonerius’s The Gemstone (1350). Studien Zur Deutschen Sprache Und Literatur, 47, 1–25.
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AbstractFable literature from Greek antiquity (Aesop) to today, from East and West, has proven to be of universal relevance and timeless meaning, even if modern generations seem to ignore increasingly that genre as something old-fashioned. Nevertheless, the timeless value of fables finds particularly powerful expression in the collection of fables, Der Edelstein, by the Dominican Swiss-German poet Ulrich Bonerius (ca. 1350). Whereas many historians have commonly tried to identify the Middle Ages as a world or culture all on its own, determined by an alien mentality, maybe even inaccessible for us in hermeneutic terms (Jauss), these fables allow us to comprehend fourteenth-century people and their concerns and ideas much more intimately than previously assumed because they commonly address universal issues people have always faced in their interaction with society. The article offers first a critical assessment of mostly erroneous assumptions about the Middle Ages and then illustrates the universal concerns shared by that past culture and us today by way of a close examination of a selection of fables by Bonerius. We discover here remarkable examples of ethical, moral, but especially rational concepts about good and respectable life. Little wonder that the Edelstein exerted such a long-term appeal far into the early sixteenth century, and that I was then rediscovered and greatly appreciated by late eighteenth-century scholars and writers. Bonerius offers many fables in which he formulates many observations and comments that reveal a rational universality in their content. © 2022 by the authors.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2022 Classen. This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.