Gefiolierte blüte kunst: Eine kognitionslinguistisch orientierte Untersuchung zur Metaphorik in Frauenlobs Marienleich

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3 H, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Cöllen, Sebastian
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för moderna språk
  • Kontaktperson: Cöllen, Sebastian
  • Disputation


Heinrich of Meißen, also known as Frauenlob († 1318), is a central figure in Middle High German literature. As is evident from its early reception, his work was highly admired in the middle ages. In research literature, however, his ‘obscure’ poetry initially was faced with a lack of understanding.

The main challenge for comprehending Frauenlob lies in his rich metaphorics. However, despite the importance of the metaphors in Frauenlob’s work, the question about their role in the construction of meaning was not seriously raised until the last decades and has not yet been thoroughly investigated. This problem is all the more serious as Frauenlob’s poetry, which has often been attributed with a seemingly ‘modern’ ambivalence, is at the centre of the recent debate of the historicity of metaphor. His poetry offers a fruitful empirical entry to the important issues whether metaphors are interpreted today in the same way as in the middle ages, and whether modern theories of metaphor are adequate for the historical analysis of medieval metaphorics.

The present study aims to describe and explain how the metaphors in Frauenlob’s Marienleich functions. It is shown that the traditional substitution account of metaphor leads to a reductionist view of the construction of meaning in this text. The modern interaction account also contains aspects whose suitability with regard to the medieval expectations on the production of meaning can be questioned. As an alternative, the present investigation proposes a context sensitive analytic model based on cognitive linguistics that tries to preserve the hermeneutic difference to Frauenlob’s Marienleich. This cognitive perspective, which is here applied to Frauenlob’s work for the first time, enables a more precise description and explanation of how the metaphorical meaning is constructed than was hitherto possible. The result shows that, whereas Frauenlob’s poetry may not be as modern as is sometimes believed, the metaphors in his Marienleich are much more than an artistic show-off; rather, they represent an efficient means of actualising a complex religious meaning.