International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 278


Anthropological investigations of love through a medieval lens: The perspectives by the Middle High German poet, Walther von der Vogelweide

Albrecht Classen
  • Albrecht Classen
  • Department of German Studies, University of Arizona, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 05 March 2021
  •  Accepted: 19 April 2021
  •  Published: 30 April 2021


One of the fundamental problems of the modern university is the artificial creation of departments which cuts up organic research fields and creates unnecessary divisions when cooperation and mutual learning would be called for. There are certainly differences in methodologies and theoretical concepts between archaeological anthropology, for instance, and literary studies (Humanities); but anthropology, ultimately, is nothing but the study of humanity in all of its manifestations. Even though literary scholars and anthropologists pursue diverse materials at a time, ultimately, their goals are virtually the same- the understanding of human culture, values, morals, and material conditions. This paper first reflects on these outdated and misguided administrative hurdles in our universities today, and then presents an exemplary case study of the love poems by the famous Middle High German poet, Walther von der Vogelweide (d. ca. 1220), to illustrate how much the literary analysis can fundamentally contribute to anthropological research. This also implies, of course, that literary scholars should draw from the parallel investigations by their anthropological colleagues.


Keywords: Collaborative research, anthropology and the humanities, courtly love, Walther von der Vogelweide, medieval German literature.