How to become an “edelez herze”: Interpassivity and the art of playing the game of collectively received narratives (not only) within the Middle Ages
In the movie Ocean’s Twelve, two protagonists represent two very different ways to receive a complex story: You can try very hard to interact mentally – and fail on a more or less high level (like ‘Linus Caldwell’); or you can fake a mental interaction and assure just after the twist of the story that you already knew it (like ‘Bruce Willis’). In the latter case – and if the fake succeeds – you will be objectively clever and participate in the benefits of the people who really knew it – whether they exist in reality or not. This special variation of interpassivity is not only a more or less lame game for the reception of postmodern movies: There are hints enough to assume that the Middle High German literature strongly promoted interpassive cleverness. And for the courtly audience of a medieval literary performance, the showmanship was way more important than for the audience of a today’s movie. So, medieval narratives gave the opportunity of two complementary games of reception: Interactive engaging and interpassive participating. The prize for both games is ‘ courtly merriment’, a fundamental condition to be part of the court. These games of reception of collectively received narratives shall be shown using the example of Gottfrieds von Strassburg Tristan and other medieval narratives.
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