This presentation compares two war-related texts, one penned by a German mercenary, Paul Speltacher, and the other by a Hungarian poet, Sebastian Tinodi, who narrate events surrounding the same military battle: the offensive engaged in to capture the town and fortress of Lippa (Lipova, Romania) in Transylvania during November of 1551. The German and the Hungarian eye-witness accounts selectively color and embellish the facts as they see them in order to convey their own evaluation. Although my analysis is framed in a post-colonial mode attempting to accommodate a Hungarian frontier society in flux, its applicability is limited. Consequently, I also focus on the important literary goal of discovering the breadth of possibilities existing within the literary imagination. The possibility that this poetic imagination may shape cultural attitudes applies beyond the 16th century and questions the contemporary concept of periphery because even recently published histories refer to these wars as “Habsburg–Ottoman Wars,” a designation that passes over in silence the peoples and regions experiencing this invasion.
Maria Dobozy is professor of German and Medieval Studies and has been teaching at the University of Utah since 1986. She also taught as Recurrent Visiting Professor in the Dept. of Medieval Studies at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary from 1995-2006. She has published on a variety of topics in medieval culture and literature including medieval law, world chronicles, Hugh of St. Victor, moral conduct, 13th century German romances, and Thomas Mann’s version of the Gregorius story Der Erwählte. Her books include : “Full Circle: Kingship in the German Epic: Alexanderlied, Rolandslied, 'Spielmannsepen" (Göppingen: Kümmerle 1985); “The Saxon Mirror. A Sachsenspiegel of the Fourteenth Century” (includes Introduction, Translation, Glossary and Commentary to Eike von Repgow's “Sachsenspiegel”, Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press,1999); and “Re-Membering the Present: The Medieval German Minstrel in Cultural Context” (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2005).