Frauenlob - Encyclopedia

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FRAUENLOB, the name by which Heinrich Von Meissen, a German poet of the 13th century, is generally known. He seems to have acquired the sobriquet because in a famous Liederstreit with his rival Regenbogen he defended the use of the word Frau (i.e. frouwe, = lady) instead of Weib (Op= woman). Frauenlob was born about 1250 of a humble burgher family. His youth was spent in straitened circumstances, but he gradually acquired a reputation as a singer at the various courts of the German princes. In 1278 we find him with Rudolph I. in the Marchfeld, in 1286 he was at Prague at the knighting of Wenceslaus (Wenzel) II., and in 1311 he was present at a knightly festival celebrated by Waldemar of Brandenburg before Rostock. After this he settled in Mainz, and there according to the popular account, founded the first school of Meistersingers (q.v.). He died in 1318, and was buried in the cloisters of the cathedral at Mainz. His grave is still marked by a copy made in 1783 of the original tombstone of 1318; and in 1842 a monument by Schwanthaler was erected in the cloisters. Frauenlob's poems make a great display of learning; he delights in far-fetched metaphors, and his versification abounds in tricks of form and rhyme.

Frauenlob's poetry was edited by L. Ettmuller in 1843; a selection will be found in K. Bartsch, Deutsche Liederdichter des 12. bis 14. Jahrhunderts (3rd ed., 1893). An English translation of Frauenlob's Cantica canticorum, by A. E. Kroeger, with notes, appeared in 1877 at St Louis, U.S.A. See A. Boerkel, Frauenlob (2nd ed., 1881).

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