Kurtzweil Satires

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kurtzweil Satires

woodcuts: cow conductor + goat on flute AND wolf crowns pig

woodcut illustrations: knight rides lobster + child rides rooster

dancing bear and friar in vase riding a bird

man in tub unravels yarn AND rabbit as jockey on snail

dog in cylinder AND hat-wearing goose hanging in bag

man rides bird AND cow plays bagpipes: 16th century woodcut illustrations

swine plays organ, frog plays drum AND ass plays drums

absurdist woodcuts from Kurtzweil by J Wickram 1550 e

absurd satirical illustrations featuring jesters or fools

armored rabbit waves flag AND goat plays lute

woodcuts: 4 absurd anthropomorphic satires

Jörg Wickram (~1505-1562) was a German writer from the Alsace region (now France) who straddled the Renaissance and Early Modern periods of literature development.

Wickram's versatile output ranged from translation work (he translated Ovid without knowing any latin) to poetry, dramatic narratives and collections of humorous anecdotes (Schwank) that drew influence from Sebastian Brandt's 'Ship of Fools' (1494), animal fable satires and the medieval minnesang tradition (seen here recently). Although these collected tales were popular, Wickram is perhaps best known for producing the earliest forms of the novel in German literature.

'Kurtzweil' (1550) is a lesser known work of poetry in the vernacular German by Wickram, featuring crude anthropomorphic woodcut illustrations, reminiscent of (but predating) Le Monde Renversé satires. There is next to nothing by way of commentary around online, but I think it's a fairly safe bet that 'Kurtzweil' belongs to the satirical/moral body of Schwank anthologies, prevalent in 16th century German literature.

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