Heinrich von Morungen

Heinrich von Morungen or Henry of Morungen (died c. 1220 or 1222) was a German Minnesinger.

Codex Manesse 076v Heinrich von Morungen
Miniature of Heinrich von Morungen from the Codex Manesse.


Almost nothing about his life can be deduced from Heinrich's songs. Possibly he is identical with the Hendricus de Morungen who is documented in Thuringia. This Hendricus belonged to the class of minor knights and presumably originated from the castle of Morungen near Sangerhausen. As a "retired knight" (miles emeritus) he received from his patron, Dietrich IV, Margrave of Meissen, a pension for his "high personal merits" (alta suae vitae merita). He transferred this in 1213 to the monastery of St Thomas in Leipzig, which he entered himself in 1217. According to 16th century sources, he died there in 1222 after a journey to India. In the Late Middle Ages, there was extant a "Ballad of the Noble Moringer", which transferred onto Heinrich von Morungen the stock theme of the return of a husband believed lost.


There survive 35 Minnelieder by Heinrich, with 115 verses, of which only 104 are to be found in the great collection of the Codex Manesse. The melodies have not survived.

Heinrich is a very graphic lyricist: he particularly often makes use of images of shining (sun, moon, evening star, gold, jewels, mirror) as comparisons by which to describe the lady who is being sung and praised.

An essential theme in Heinrich's work is the demonic nature of Minne, the Middle High German word for this type of love, which for the mediaeval writers was embodied by the ancient classical goddess of love, Venus. Minne is experienced partly as a magical, pathological, even fatal power, but also as a religious and mystical experience.

In form and content the poems are influenced by the Provençal troubadour lyric: dactylic rhythms and through-rhymes (Durchreimung) occur frequently. Motifs in the content have also been taken over from the same source: for example, the motif, otherwise rare in German Minnesang, of the "notice of termination of the service of love" (Lied XXVII), the roots of which are to be found in classical literature (for example Ovid).

An introduction often attributed to Heinrich is the Wechsel or exchange (where the two parties speak alternately, but not directly to each other) in the Tagelied, although the device may be found in the poems of Dietmar von Aist, who is believed to be earlier.


  • Des Minnesangs Frühling, Band 1: Texte, ed Hugo Moser und Helmut Tervooren, 38th revised edition, Stuttgart 1988 ISBN 3-7776-0448-8
  • Heinrich von Morungen. Lieder, text, translation and commentary by Helmut Tervooren, (=Reclams Universal-Bibliothek; Nr. 9797), 3rd edition, Stuttgart 2003 ISBN 3-15-009797-5


  • Helmut Tervooren: Heinrich von Morungen, in: Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed Kurt Ruh et al., 2nd edition, vol 3, Berlin, New York 1981, col. 804–815 ISBN 3-11-008778-2
  • Kesting, Peter (1969), "Heinrich von Morungen", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 8, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 416–417; (full text online)

External links


Albrecht von Johansdorf

Albrecht von Johansdorf (c. 1180 – c. 1209) was a Minnesänger and a minor noble in the service of Wolfger of Erla. Documents indicate that his life included the years 1185 to 1209. He may have known Walther von der Vogelweide and is believed to have participated in a crusade. He is known to have written at least five "recruitment" songs in Middle High German, most likely for the Third Crusade. His "Song 2" owes a debt to the structure and melody from a song in Old French by trouvère poet Conon de Béthune. His "Song 5", which mentions the capture of Jerusalem, may suggest that he wrote around 1190. Von Johansdorf's Minnelieder conform outwardly to the standard pattern of man subordinating himself to the woman above him and is responsible for the classical formulation of "the educative value of Minnedienst" (daz ir deste werde sit und da bi hochgemuot). His integrity and warmth of heart are most evident in poems referring to the departure for the crusade.

Dietmar von Aist

Dietmar von Aist (c. 1115 – c. 1171) was a Minnesinger from a baronial family in the Duchy of Austria, whose work is representative of the lyric poetry in the Danube region.


German Exilliteratur (German pronunciation: [ɛˈksiːl.lɪtəʁaˌtuːɐ̯], exile literature) is the name for a category of books in the German language written by writers of anti-Nazi attitude who fled from Nazi Germany and its occupied territories between 1933 and 1945. These dissident authors, many of whom were of Jewish origin and/or with communist sympathies, fled abroad in 1933 after the Nazi Party came to power in Germany and after Nazi Germany annexed Austria by the Anschluss in 1938, abolished the freedom of press and started to prosecute the authors whose books were banned.

Hermann Bahr

Hermann Bahr (19 July 1863 – 15 January 1934) was an Austrian writer, playwright, director, and critic.

Johann Gottfried Schnabel

Johann Gottfried Schnabel (November 7, 1692 – c1751–1758) was a German writer best known for his novel Insel Felsenburg. He published his works under the pen name Gisander.

Schnabel was born in Sandersdorf near Bitterfeld, Germany. Orphaned in 1694, he was raised by relatives. After an apprenticeship to a barber from 1706 to 1709, Schnabel worked as a Feldsher, a military barber-surgeon, in the regiments of Wolfenbüttel and Saxony until 1717. In this capacity he took part in the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1719, Schnabel settled as a master barber in Querfurt. From 1724 he was court barber in the County of Stolberg-Wernigerode, where he was promoted to valet de chambre in 1729 and to court agent around 1737. The year 1750 shows the last record of Schnabel's life; his death date and place are unknown.

Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschrift

The Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschift ("Small Heidelberg Song-manuscript") is a collection of Middle High German Minnesang texts. In Minnesang scholarship it is referred to as MS. A. It is held by the Heidelberg University Library with the signature Cod.Pal.germ. 357 (Cpg 357).Along with the Weingarten Manuscript (MS. B) and the Codex Manesse (MS. C), it is one of the major sources of Minnesang texts from the beginnings (around 1150) to the end of the "golden age" (around 1230).

Kleist Prize

The Kleist Prize is an annual German literature prize. The prize was first awarded in 1912, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Heinrich von Kleist. The Kleist Prize was the most important literary award of the Weimar Republic, but was discontinued in 1933.

In 1985 the prize was awarded for the first time in over fifty years. Between 1994 and 2000 it was awarded biennially. A monetary sum of €20,000 accompanies the award.

List of German-language poets

This list contains the names of individuals (of any ethnicity or nationality) who wrote poetry in the German language. Most are identified as "German poets", but some are not German.

Marieluise Fleißer

Marieluise Fleißer (German: [maˌʁiːluˈiːzə ˈflaɪsɐ]; 23 November 1901, Ingolstadt – 2 February 1974, Ingolstadt) was a German author and playwright.


Minnesang (German: [ˈmɪnəˌzaŋ], "love song") was a tradition of lyric- and song-writing in Germany that flourished in the Middle High German period. This period of medieval German literature began in the 12th century and continued into the 14th. People who wrote and performed Minnesang were known as Minnesänger (German: [ˈmɪnəˌzɛŋɐ], minnesingers), and a single song was called a Minnelied.

The name derives from minne, the Middle High German word for love, as that was Minnesang's main subject. The Minnesänger were similar to the Provençal troubadours and northern French trouvères in that they wrote love poetry in the tradition of courtly love in the High Middle Ages.


Morungen may refer to:

Heinrich von Morungen, medieval German minnesinger

Morungen (Sangerhausen), a village within the municipality/city Sangerhausen, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

An alternative spelling of Mohrungen in Prussia, after 1945 Morąg, Poland

Rainald Goetz

Rainald Maria Goetz (born May 24, 1954 in Munich) is a German author, playwright and essayist.

Reinmar von Brennenberg

Reinmar von Brennenberg (or Reinmar der Brennenberger) was a minnesinger and ministerialis to the Bishop of Regensburg in the 13th century.


The Tagelied (dawn song) is a particular form of mediaeval German-language lyric, taken and adapted from the Provençal troubadour tradition (in which it was known as the alba) by the German Minnesinger. Often in three verses, it depicts the separation of two lovers at the break of day.

An especially popular version of the Tagelied was the Wächterlied, or watchman's song, in which a trusted watchman warns the knight to depart. This form was introduced into German use by Wolfram von Eschenbach. The form was popular in German-speaking regions from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

The form of the Wechsel (alternating verses by the knight and the lady, but not addressed directly to each other, so not quite a dialogue as now understood) was introduced by Dietmar von Aist and Heinrich von Morungen. The tagelied's form and prosody varies over time and with individual poet. The tagelied does not even consistently use refrains. However, the subject matter of the song made it a very popular one, and the form's conventions showed up in other lyric poetry and dramatic poetry.

Important motifs of the Tagelied are the depiction of daybreak, the warning to depart, the lament at parting and the lady's final permission to the knight to go (the urloup). Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, act 2, scene 2, shows the influence of the dawn song as well, as the two lovers argue over the dawn and the need for departure.

Particular exponents of the genre were among others Heinrich von Morungen, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Walther von der Vogelweide and later Oswald von Wolkenstein. Modern poets who have drawn on the tradition of the Tagelied include Rainer Maria Rilke, Ezra Pound and Peter Rühmkorf.

One of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s more famous Tagelieder stays true to the motifs of depictions of daybreak, warning to depart and lament at parting and the woman’s final permission. The poem begins with a depiction of daybreak and the watchman’s whistle that warns the lovers that the man must depart. What separates this poem from the rest of Wolframs poems is his poetic depiction of daybreak as a monster whose “talons have struck through the clouds” and are tearing the lovers apart. This violent imagery adds a sense of desperation not seen in other Tagelieder. The man mourns the fact that he must leave and is angry at the watchman’s song that “swells the man with discontent.” The woman also laments the sound of the whistle, telling the watchman ““sing what you like, how often you have stolen him from my arms though never from my heart.” She then asks her lover to stay until she finally, after one last embrace, accepts his departure.

Terézia Mora

Terézia Mora ([ˈtɛreːziɒ ˈmorɒ]; born 5 February 1971) is a Hungarian writer, screenwriter and translator.

Von den Elben

Von den Elben is the seventh studio album by the German medieval folk band Faun. It was released on 25 January 2013. Among new original content it contains a number of cover versions of old Faun tracks and songs by other artists. After signing a contract with the Universal label and the Valicon production team, Faun for the first time released an album with lyrics completely in German language. Katja Moslehner joined the band as a new singer. The album features duets with two other German bands: Santiano and Subway to Sally. Michael Boden from Subway to Sally also contributed the lyrics for tracks like "Warte auf mich" [Wait for Me].The title track "Von den Elben" [Of the Elves] is a rework of a former Faun release from the album Licht. The previous medieval lyrics by Heinrich von Morungen were replaced by different lyrics in modern German written by Faun mastermind Oliver s. Tyr.

Weingarten Manuscript

The Weingarten Manuscript (German Weingartner Liederhandschrift) is a 14th-century illuminated manuscript containing a collection of Minnesang lyrics. It is currently in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart, with the shelf-mark HB XIII 1. In Minnesang scholarship it is referred to as Manuscript B.Along with the Codex Manesse (MS. C) and the Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (MS. A) it is one of the major sources of Minnesang texts from the beginnings (around 1150) to the end of the "golden age" (around 1230).

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