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William C. McDonald


Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. and by email appointment.

Specialties: Medieval German literature, German pedagogy


Medieval German literature, German pedagogy

I teach composition and conversation for majors and minors; Middle High German and courtly romance for graduate students.


Whose Bread I Eat: The Song-Poetry of Michel Beheim

The Tristan Story in German Literature of the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance

Arthur and Tristan: On the Intersection of Legends in German Medieval Literature


"Abraham in Wonderland: On Judeisapta and Imaginary Jewish Sovereignty in the Fourteenth-Century ‘Austrian Chronicle’ (Österreichische Chronik von 95 Herrschaften), Jewish Quarterly Review 110, (2020): 412-433. 

"Animae militum: Concerning the Literary Reception of a Version of the 'Troop of the Dead,' ascribed to Ekkehard von Aura, Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, 55 (2020): 54-91. 

"King Mark: Gottfried’s Version of the Ovidian Husband-Figure?” Forum for Modern Language Studies, 14 (1978).

"Concerning Ambiguity as the Poetic Principle in Kürenberg’s ‘Falcon Song’,” Euphorion, 72 (1978): 314-322.

"The Maiden in Hartmann’s ‘Der arme Heinrich’: Enite redux?” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschriftfür Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 53 (1979): 35-48.

 Concerning  Oswald von Wolkenstein’s ‘Wie vill ich sing und tichte’ (Klein 23) as Religious Autobiography,” Jahrbuch der Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, 2 (1982/83): 267-286.

“A Pauline Reading of Der Wilde Alexander’s ‘Kindheitslied’,” Monatshefte, 76 (1984): 156-175.

’Too Softly a Gift of Treasure’: A Rereading of the Old
High German ‘Hildebrandslied’,” Euphorion, 78 (1984): 1-16.

The ‘Nobility of Soul’: Uncharted Echoes of the Peraldean Tradition in Late Medieval German Literature,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 60 (1986):543-571.

“The Fool Stick: Concerning Tristan’s Club in the German Eilhart Tradition,” Euphorion, 82 (1988): 127-149.

“Aspects of Time in Hartmann’s ‘Der Arme Heinrich’,” Monatshefte, 80 (1988): 430-443.

“The Boar Emblem in Gottfried’s ‘Tristan’,” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 92 (1991): 159-178.

“King Mark, the Holy Penitent: Ona Neglected Motif in the Eilhart Literary Tradition,”Zeitschrift fürdeutsches Altertum, 120 (1991): 393-418.

 “Observations on the Language of Courtesy in the ‘Iwein’ of Hartmann von Aue,” The Ring of Words in Medieval Literature (1993): 219-256.

Reprint of my article “Gottfried von Strassburg: ‘Tristan” and the Arthurian Tradition” (1989) in the volume Tristan and Isolde: A Casebook,ed. Joan T. Grimbert (1994): 147-185.

“Tristan, der je manheit wielt: Heinrich von Freiberg’s ‘Tristan’ as Emblem of Medieval Masculinity,” Tristania, 19 (1999): 97-113.

“Mythos Eulenspiegel—Sieg eines zwitterhaften Listreichen,” Verführer, Schurken, Magier, ed. Wunderlich and Müller (2001): 227-241. Series: Medieval Myths.

“The Likeness of a Lady: Concerning the Interior of the Hero’s Shield in the ‘Erec’ of Hartmann von Aue, Leuvense Bijdragen, 90 (2001): 403-418.

Nû  bewegete der vrouwen smerze/ Êrecke sô gar sîn herze (Erec, 8334-5): Apropos Hartmann’s Compassionate Knights,“ Mediävistik, 16 (2003):101-121.

 "Turnus in Veldeke’s Eneide: The Effects of Violence,“ in Violence in Medieval Courtly Literature: A Casebook, ed. A. Classen(New York & London: Routledge, 2004): 83-95.

“Ěrec der wunderære: On Epithet as Exegesis in Hartmann’s Erec,“ Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 105 (2006): 257-274.

“Diu rîche vrouwe Didô (v. 7558): Dido as Exemplar in the Erec-Romance of Hartmann von Aue,“ Orbis Litterarum. 62 (2007): 483-519.

Reprint of “The Boar Emblem in Gottfried’s Tristan,“ in Classical and Medieval Literary Criticism, Volume 96 =CMLC-96), 2008.

“Erec der wunderaere, Tristan der wunderaere: Concerning the Derivation of an Epithet in the Tristan of Gottfried von Strassburg,“ Studi Medievali , L (2009):191-202.

“Michel Beheim’s Literary Assault on the ‘Sin against Nature.’ A Neglected 15-Century Text on Sodomy,” Daphnis, 38 (2009): 399-420.

"Concerning the Use and Abuse of a Medieval Statue in Germany from 1920-1940. The Case of the Bamberger Reiter,” Perspicuitas: Internet-Periodicum für mediävistische Sprach-Literatur-und Kulturwissenschaft (2010).

“Armed Conflict as a Deadly Sin: Michel Beheim’s Verses on Wrath” (1457-ca. 1470).” In War and Peace: New Perspectives in European History and Literature700-1800, ed. Margolis and Classen (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011).


Some 40 Reviews in, among others: 
Monatshefte, Colloqua Germanica, Schatzkammer, Semasia, Fifteenth-Century Studies, German Quarterly, Speculum, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Tristania, Mediaevistik, and Modern Language Notes


NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2005-8
Learning Assessment Grant, several times
Sesquicentennial Associate
Editor of the academic periodical Fifteenth-Century Studies; Editorial Board for Tristanis.