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Manuscript Comparison and the Characterization of the Giant Ecke in the Middle High German / Early Modern High German ‘Das Eckenlied’

Isaac Smith Schendel

Pages 279 - 295

There are three major versions of the Medieval German poem Das Eckenlied, traditionally referred to as E2, E7, and e1. All three recount the adventures and death of the giant Ecke at the hands of Dietrich von Bern. Although the plot is the same in all variants, a comparison of the language and style reveals that the authors of the respective manuscripts offer independent portrayals of the titular hero. Therefore, Ecke’s depictions in E7 and e1 should be investigated as though they were different works to see how the poems address the giant’s speech and actions. It is argued that E7 uses more religious vocabulary and demon-related imagery in its characterization of Ecke and presents him as an unambiguously evil force. e1, on the other hand, does almost the exact opposite: While not going so far as to paint Ecke as a flawless hero, it is more positive in its depiction and takes great pains to cast the young warrior in an almost flattering light.


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