Literature at the Munich Court in the 15th century

Interest in old courtly matters flourishes again under Duke Albrecht III (1401-1460) and Albrecht IV (1447-1508) and literature shines in new glory in Munich in the 15th century. It is not only the pragmatic genres that stand out here, in addition to Wolfram imitation and nostalgia for knights, but a new type of poet with an academic background also prevails.

As the Middle Ages move into Renaissance Humanism, for example, the universally scholarly author and physician Johannes Hartlieb (c. 1400-1468) features, whose works, written on behalf of the sovereign, cover a broad spectrum between light literature and non-fiction prose. His Alexander is a German translation of a Latin Alexander novel compilation conceived as a mirror for princes and conveys historical, geographical and natural history knowledge as well as princely qualities in the spirit of the courtly audience using the example of an exemplary ruler. Hartlieb proves his literary versatility with the transcription of Andreas Capellanus's (1150-1220) medieval "De amore" courtly love teachings and Caesarius von Heisterbach's (1180-1240) collection of religious examples and miracles. The popularisation of Artes literature in Bavaria is also testified to by his book on the art of palm reading, the "Buch von der Hand".

Another ambitious artist is the painter and poet Ulrich Füetrer (died 1496) from Landshut. As a painter, Füetrer participated in sacred games, as a court poet he devoted himself to historiography and nostalgic knightly literature. Between 1473 and 1481, he wrote his Book of Adventures in Titurel stanzas, a collection of numerous 13th-century Arthurian novels condensed into an epic cycle. With a total of 12,000 verses, this book is also the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek's largest German parchment manuscript.

In addition to local Bavarian writers, the Munich Court also attracts writers from outside, such as Michel Beheim (1416/21-1474/78), who was born in Sülzbach near Weinsberg and who, as a poet composer, also delighted the Wittelsbach family at the Heidelberg Court. In addition to three strophic chronicles, Beheim wrote about 450 songs in eleven preserved melodies, which can be dated between 1449 and 1474: religious songs, songs on general moral and ethical issues, political and autobiographical songs, love songs, songs on the conception and practice of art.

The list of books by 13th century authors, which the Munich patrician Jakob Püterich von Reichertshausen (c. 1400-1469) recites in his "Ehrenbrief" (Letter of Honour) for the Palatine Countess Mechthild von Rottenburg (1419-1482) who was interested in literature, can not least be evaluated as an echo of the classical Middle High German epic in 15th century Bavaria. The "Ehrenbrief" is also regarded as an important document in German courtly literature's history of influence: for the first time, German poetry becomes the subject of reflections on its quality and authenticity.