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Amadis de Gaule and the German Enlightenment

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Sigmund J. Barber

In 1805 Goethe revealed that he had read the Amadis von Gallien, but regretted having waited so long to get to know such an excellent work. However, what Goethe had read was not the popular and notoriously licentious work of the sixteenth century, but a revised edition of 1779. This study compares this version with the German Amadis of the sixteenth century with regard to the conception of love, the use of language in both versions, the role of nature, the presence of magic and sorcery, the conception of religion, and the portrayal of knighthood and chivalric society. These comparisons reveal that the eighteenth century work changed many essential components and concepts to suit the late eighteenth century perception of man and the world in which he lives.
Contents: A comparative analysis of the sixteenth and eighteenth century German Amadis editions with regard to the conception of love, the use of language, the problem of truth and plausibility, the role of nature, magic and sorcery, religion, and the chivalric world.