Reading the Medieval Book: Word, Image, and Performance in Wolfram von Eschenbach's "Willehalm."
Wolfram von Eschenbach's Willehalm was a 13th-century epic of conflict between Christian and Saracen at the time of the crusades. Highly popular among medieval audiences it survives in various forms. This study examines a rather unusual illustrated version of Willehalm , composed about fifty years after the original, three-fifths of which contains illustrative material. Kathryn Starkey highlights the relationship between word, image and performance in this manuscript, and argues that the images of the narrator which gesture towards the audience are not incidental illustrations of the events, actions and plots of the story. Rather, they are an attempt by eschenbach to include performative elements which are lost when an oral text is written down. It is this deliberate dialogue between text and its audeince, communicated through imagery, which forms the basis of discussion.