Christian Schneider

Christian Schneider

Associate Professor of German
Director of Undergraduate Studies
PhD, Dr. habil., Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg
research interests:
  • Medieval and Early Modern German Literature
  • Historical Narrative Theory and Medieval Poetics
  • Medieval Courtly Culture
  • History of Knowledge and Science
  • Medieval Media and Adaptation
  • Textual Editing

contact info:

office hours:

  • Monday 12:30 - 1:30 pm
  • Wednesday 5:30 - 6:30 pm
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mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1104
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
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Professor Schneider's research and teaching interests are in medieval and early modern literature, with a focus on narrative theory and poetics, late medieval court literature, and pre-modern history of thought and knowledge.

Christian Schneider is the author of Hovezuht (2008), a monograph on the nature and functioning of literary discourses on courtliness in late medieval court societies. His second book, Logiken des Erzählens (forthcoming with De Gruyter), examines the logic of storytelling in vernacular epics from the 12th and 13th centuries. In addition to essays on topics ranging from the concept of "fictionality" in pre-modern literature to late medieval and early modern scientific writings, he has co-edited five essay anthologies, among them Erzähllogiken in der Literatur des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit (2013), Knowledge in Motion: Constructing Transcultural Experience in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1200–1750) (2017, with Gerhild Scholz Williams), and Der "Welsche Gast" des Thomasin von Zerklaere: Neue Perspektiven auf eine alte Verhaltenslehre in Text und Bild (forthcoming with Heidelberg University Publishing).

Professor Schneider's teaching covers the full range of medieval and early modern literature, with a particular interest in the aesthetics and poetics of medieval literary culture. His course offerings include general courses in German language and culture and the history of the German language. He also teaches in the program in Comparative Literature and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities and currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Schneider was a Volkswagen Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Washington University from 2012 to 2013. In 2016, he was awarded a Marie S. Curie FCFP Senior Fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. He has received additional research grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In 2010–11, Schneider co-curated an exhibition on the Manesse Codex and medieval German love lyric which is documented in Der Codex Manesse und die Entdeckung der Liebe (2010). From 2011 to 2014, he also headed an editing project on Thomasin's von Zerklaere Der Welsche Gast. This work is being done within the Collaborative Research Centre 933, "Material Text Cultures," at Heidelberg University, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Spring 2019 Courses

Advanced German: Core Course IV (German 301D)

Discussion of literary and non-literary texts combined with an intensive grammar review. Systematic introduction to the expressive functions of German, with an emphasis on spoken and written communication. In addition to regular class meetings, students should sign up for a twice-weekly subsection. Prerequisite: Ger 210D, the equivalent, or placement by examination. Students who complete this course successfully should enroll in German 302D.

    German Literature and the Pre-Modern Era (German 342)

    In this introduction to the literary and intellectual history of the German-speaking world from roughly 800 CE to the 17th century, we will read English translations of some of the most influential authors and works in the medieval and early modern German tradition, including the "Heroic Age" (e.g., the Nibelungenlied), the classical period of the 12th and 13th centuries (Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Straßburg), late-medieval philosophy and mysticism (Mechthild von Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart), early modern humanism and the reformation (Martin Luther). Students enrolled in this course engage in close and sustained reading of a set of texts that are indispensable for an understanding of the German-and European-literary tradition, texts that continue to offer invaluable insights into humanity and the world around us. Our discussions will focus on concepts such as heroism, chivalry, and courtly love, on questions regarding the relationship between the individual and society, the role of religion in society, and the emergence of modern mass media (the Gutenberg revolution). We will consider the texts both on their own terms and against the backdrop of the historical contexts in which they were written. Open to first-year students, non-majors, and majors. Admission to 400-level courses (except 402, 403D, 404, and 408D) is contingent on completion of this course, 340C/340D, or 341/341D. The main course is conducted in English, so this will only qualify for major or minor credit when taken in conjunction with one-hour discussion section in German (L21 342D). The discussion section provides and introduction to critical German vocabulary and is open to students with prior knowledge of German (German 210D or equivalent, or placement by examination).

      Der Codex Manesse und die Entdeckung der Liebe: Katalog zur Ausstellung der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

      Der Codex Manesse und die Entdeckung der Liebe: Katalog zur Ausstellung der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

      “Saget mir ieman, waz ist minne?" This question by the poet Walther von der Vogelweide about the nature of love has been dealing with moving singers, nobles and even clerics since the high Middle Ages. As reflected in a variety of texts and images, it was no longer enough for a knight to own the lady he wanted. He wanted to conquer her heart. The polyphonic discovery of the subject of love as an erotic love between man and woman not only influenced the relationship between the sexes. It also transformed the self-image of the nobility and manners within courtly society. The songs and images in the Codex Manesse capture this change as an example. In a unique way, the large-scale manuscript collection brings together the Hohenstaufen as well as the post-classical minstrelsy in all its diversity of forms and forms. The miniatures to the poets with their depictions of courtly scenes, festivities and tournaments sustainably shaped the modern image of the knightly Middle Ages. The Codex Manesse itself is already to be interpreted as a wistful review: He wanted to first collect the gradually fading, previously only orally transmitted songs in writing; many texts would have been lost today without this transcript. Using the example of the Codex Manesse and other valuable manuscripts and prints from the vaults of Heidelberg University Library, the catalog illustrates the discovery of love in the high Middle Ages.