Poetry and Parental Bereavement in Early Modern Lutheran Germany by Anna Linton

Poetry and Parental Bereavement in Early Modern Lutheran Germany

byAnna Linton

Hardcover | October 4, 2008

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In early modern Europe it has been estimated that up to one in two children did not survive to the age of ten. In the light of this high mortality rate, some historians have argued that parents did not form close relationships with their children, especially the very young. This is clearlyrefuted by the testimony of bereaved parents such as Martin Luther, and by the volume of consolatory writings produced for grieving families in early modern Lutheran Germany. The authors, clergymen and lay people, regarded grief as a deep wound which required treatment, and they applied the balm ofconsolation through sermons, tracts and occasional poetry. This study analyses these writings, focusing particularly on the neglected genre of the epicedium (funeral poem). It asks how and why poetry was used to counter the affective impact of parental bereavement, and considers what makes it asuitable vehicle for consolation. The poems, which are analyzed against the contemporary theological, philosophical, and poetological background, are taken from Leichenpredigten (printed funeral booklets), as well as from collections by two contrasting poets, Paul Fleming (1609-40), an unmarried manwho wrote to console others, and Margarethe Susanna von Kuntsch (1651-1717), who lost thirteen of her fourteen children. The study seeks to rehabilitate a neglected genre and participates in discussions on the sociology of death, Lutheran teachings about death and mourning, literary presentations ofmortality and loss, and the depiction of children and parent-child relations in literature.

About The Author

Anna Linton took her BA, M.St. and D.Phil. at the University of Oxford. After two years as a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, she took up a lectureship in German at King's College London, where she teaches a wide range of courses covering German language and literature from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. She h...

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Title:Poetry and Parental Bereavement in Early Modern Lutheran GermanyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:300 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.18 inPublished:October 4, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199233365

ISBN - 13:9780199233366

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Lutheran consolation for bereaved parents2. The purposes of poetry3. Models and metaphors for Lutheran funeral poetry4. Death and didacticism5. Brides of Christ and heavenly soldiers - imagery in funeral verse6. Paul Fleming and Margarethe Susanna von KuntschConclusionBiographies of poets and authorsFuneral booklets and occasional poems for the children citedBibliography