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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Faculty of Arts and Humanities legacy departments
Title: An examination of German reformation dialogues 1520-1525
Authors: Davidson, Elspeth Ann
Issue Date: 1983
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The thesis comprises two parts: the first examines German Reformation dialogues from the period 1520 to 1525 in a general study; the second discusses six texts in detail. The introduction deals with the literary tradition of dialogue, with the place of Reformation dialogues among other contemporary forms of literature, with the rapid growth of printing and the output of polemical pamphlets, and with present-day evaluations of both German Reformation dialogues and the society which produced them. As most dialogues were published anonymously, the question of authorship is treated. The authors' aims, views and loyalties coincide in some instances and display dissimilarities in others. The broad anticlerical movement encompasses a variety of different shades of opinion. Common characteristics in the way polemical dialogues were written are determined, and variations noted. The 'common man' appears both as a frequent interlocutor in dialogues and as a recurrent topic of debate. It is the conduct and the role of the Roman church, however, which represents the predominant concerns of the dialogue-authors. The possibility that the 'common man' protagonist influenced the way in which commoners saw themselves and were seen by other social groups is examined, as is the possible effect of the literary 'common man' on social unrest among the contemporary lower classes. Part I concludes that there is no evidence to show that German Reformation dialogues played any direct or even indirect role in inciting rebellion. It is, moreover, doubtful whether significant numbers of the actual insurgents were influenced by or even familiar with the German Reformation dialogues. The pamphlets were primarily for the literate classes, the educated and semieducated. The dialogues studied in detail in Part II are Karsthans, Pfarrer und Schultheiß, Kunz und Fritz, Chorherr und Schuhmacher, Bauer, Belial, Erasmus und Dr. Faber, and Muntzerischer Schwarmer und evangelischer Bauer. This choice reflects the changing preoccupations of the authors from the beginning to the end of a singularly formative period in German history. This study aims to ascertain the particular concerns of each author and the manner in which he has sought to present them to the reader.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Department of German

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