Hartmann von Aue’s twelfth-century 'Der arme Heinrich' was the subject of a nineteenth-century Volksbuch tradition inspired by the nationally focused medievalism of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The Volksbücher adaptations published by Gustav Schwab, Karl Simrock, and Gotthard Oswald Marbach responded to and criticized one another through text and image, focusing their activity on the figure of a naked teenager, watched covertly by her future husband. In 1846, Dante Gabriel Rossetti translated Marbach’s text into English. This article examines how the same gender politics which were employed for nationalist purposes in a German setting become an end in themselves in English translation.
Funded by the Irish Research Council.