AbstractLiterary history projects the clear image that the beginnings of German literature lie in the 8th and 9th century, the Old High German period, when German literature first flourished with texts like the Hildebrandslied or Otfrids Evangelienbuch. The Old High German period is presented as a compact formation, precisely defined in time and space, of high literary value and ‘national’ coinage. The following paper attempts, in a preliminary manner, to question this notion by arguing that it is high time to free Old High German literature from the pathos of 19th century research. Its topic is language contact between German on the one hand and Latin / Romance on the other, albeit not in terms of high culture, but of language acquisition. It therefore deals with literature in the etymological sense of ‘written with letters’: the so-called ‘Old High German’ or ‘Parisian Conversations’ and the ‘Kasseler Glosses’ or ‘Conversations’.
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