Material Text Cultures

Letters as Material Communication in the Literature of the 12th to 17th Century


current staff members

akademische Mitarbeiterin Hannah Mieger
Teilprojektleiterin Dr. Sarina Tschachtli




Letters in literary texts reflect the ways of written communication and represent relationships and their disruptions. The focus lies often less on the referential function of the letter, i.e. the content or message, than on how the message is conveyed – its material dimension.

The lord and his (letter) writer, in: Heidelberg, University Library, Cod. Pal. germ. 389 (Sigle: A), fol. 33v

In literary texts, the mobility of letters is crucial; rather than the physical form of the letter, practices like carrying and reciting the written text are of particular interest. How they are sent and received is a constitutive element of letters and it shapes their meaning in a particular social context.

The project thus endeavors to analyze narratives of letters in respect to how these messages are conveyed, examining the topological flexibility of letters as well as the praxeological relationships between the texts and their agents (writers, messengers and readers).

Scenes of messages being carried and conveyed (Mankine narrative), in: Matthew Paris, Liber Additamentorum, 1250-1259, British Library, Cotton MS Nero D I, f. 7v.

Letters and charters (lifting a ban with a royal letter), in: Sachsenspiegel, land law, third book, Cod. Pal. germ. 164, Bl. 017r.



Subprojects of the 3rd Funding Period

A01 A02 A03 A05 A06 A08 A09 A10 A11 A12 B01 B04 B09 B10 B13 B14 B15 C05 C07 C08 C09 C10 INF Ö2 Z



Completed Subprojects

A01 A03 A04 B02 B03 B06 B07 B11 B12 C01 C02 C03 C04 C06 IGK Ö1



Members of the CRC

Contact & Imprint