David O’Dell Neville, Germanic and Slavic Languages
According to the stipulations required of recipients of the Research and Creative Work scholarships, a two page report is to be turned in to your office by August 31, 1994. The report should detail what was accomplished with these funds, as well as descriptions of the successes, failures, and processes encountered. Although my project has not yet been completed, the majority of the work has been finished. I would like to share with you now some of the experiences and challenges that I faced up to the present moment.
My research topic concerns the character ofWillehalm in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Willehalm. I specifically wish to examine the idea of anger and revenge as the underlying cause for his sinful behavior. Also of great interest to me is the manner in which the poem is presented in illuminated manuscripts. Most of these manuscripts are 700 years old, and portray important scenes from the poem. By examining the illuminations at a closer level, I would be able to ascertain to what degree the ideas of tolerance present in the poem have on the illuminations in the manuscript. Photographs of the illuminations would offer my thesis much support, and possibly would even form the basis of a second article.
Although the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU contains a facsimile of one Willehalm manuscript, there exist in European libraries and archive six other manuscripts and fragments of the Willehalm poem. These libraries and archives are listed here:
1. The Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbiittel, Germany
2. The 6sterreichische Nationnalbibliothek in Vienna, Anstria
3. The Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, Germany
4. The Germanisches Nationalbibliothek in Niimberg, Germany
5. The Bayerische Stattsbibliothek in Miinchen, Germany
Until I received the grant from the Office of Research and Creative Work, traveling to these libraries and archives was not a possibility. However, with the grant from this office-as well as support form the College of Humanities, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages, The David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, and The Honors Department-! have arranged the possibility to travel to Europe this summer in order to photograph the illuminations pertinent to my thesis. I have attached a recent copy of an article in the “Daily Universe” to show the attention that my research is receiving.
It was required of me that I write a letter to each of these libraries and archives. In the letter, I explained to them in German the precise nature of my thesis, as well as the importance of seeing the manuscript in person. Due to the rare and fragile nature of these manuscripts, Prof. Keele, Chairperson of the German and Slavic Department, also wrote a letter of introduction for me. I have already received two letters in return form the libraries and archives, each expressing a positive response. I expect the other three in the near future.
I plan to depart on July 4, 1994 from San Francisco airport and fly to Frankfurt, Germany. After my arrival, I will be three weeks on my own, traveling by rail, in order to examine and photograph the illuminations in these manuscripts. I will return to the United States on August 24, 1994.
In the months before I go, I intend to finish my thesis. After I arrive home, the information that I gathered in Europe will be incorporated in my thesis. With the support and advice that Prof. Tate of the Comparative Literature Department has given me, I am certain that it will be done by the December 1, 1994 deadline.
I would like to thank the Office of Research and Creative Work for the funding that I received. Were it not for this funding, I doubt that I would have been able to receive funding from the other departments, and my research trip to Europe never would have reached fruition. As a student who has enjoyed the benefits of this wonderful opportunity, I heartily encourage that these scholarship disbursements be continued.