By Phyllis R. Brown

Hrotsvit wrote tales, performs, and histories throughout the reign of Emperor Otto the good (962-973). Twelve unique essays survey her paintings, exhibiting ancient roots and contexts, Christian values, and an incredibly glossy grappling with questions of identification and feminine self-realization.

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Extra resources for A Companion to Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (fl. 960): Contextual and Interpretive Approaches

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Her two historical poems, the Gesta, of which the actual deeds of Otto I are but one component, and the Primordia, which sets the origin and early years of her convent within a frame of veneration of Liudolfing and Ottonian women,48 attest to the high regard in which her historical knowledge and understanding were held, and not only within her convent. These poems were certain to be read outside Gandersheim—indeed, the metrical prefaces of the former, one addressed to Otto I and the other to Otto II, allow the inference that this poem was an act of homage and a gift transmitted to them by Gerberga, their niece and cousin respectively.

256. On the executions and deportations, see also pp. 23, 105, 255. hrotsvit and her world 13 stand in succession to the east Frankish kingdom of Louis the German. ” However, the process was in fact complex and gradual. 30 Hrotsvit tells of the origin of Gandersheim in her poem Primordia, which is a valuable historical source but poetic rather than objective in certain details. As she tells it, a group of Liudolf ’s swineherds resting with their animals in a wood beheld mysterious lights among the trees; informed of this, Liudolf himself beheld the favorable omen on All Saints’ Eve and decided on the spot that this was to be the location of a religious community.

This is important because it shows that the scribes were given the works of Hrotsvit piece by piece; this, in turn, shows that they worked very closely with the poet, perhaps even that she herself was the “Spiritus rector” of 9 These notes (“Nachlass Bischoff Ana 553”) are among the remains of his literary work in Munich, Bavarian State Library Clm 14485. ]10 The last folio of the sacred stories (77v) ends with the epilogue, in which Hrotsvit gives an account of the sources of both parts of the Book of Sacred Stories.

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