Albrecht Classen LOVE AND FEAR OF THE FOREIGN Thüring von Ringoltingen's Melusine (1456). A Xenological Analysis Summary The example of Thüring of Ringoltingen's Melusine powerfully illustrates the dialectics of the binary opposition between Other and Self. Although Melusine's husband fears his monstrous wife once he has discovered her true identity, he also feels deeply attracted to her, both in her familiar and her unfamiliar appearance. Nevertheless, his intellectual and emotional weakness makes it impossible for him to accept the Other as an important element in his life, which leads to the destruction of his marriage. As various other sixteenth-century chapbooks, such as the Historia D. Fausten and Wagnerbuch, indicate, the Other grew in importance, and by then represented a crucial catalyst for early modern sciences. As Alixe Bovey's recent publication of Monsters and Grotesques in Medieval Manuscripts (2002) impressively demonstrates, medieval artists and writers were deeply fascinated by the confrontation of self and other. Indeed, they perceived the emergence of the monstrous and grotesque as a unique heuristic vehicle to investigate fundamental tensions not only between the self and other, but also between the body and the spirit as well as between good and evil.1 The pantheon of
Daphnis – Brill
Published: May 1, 2004
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