Christian Schneider

Christian Schneider

Associate Professor of German
Director of Graduate Studies in German
PhD, Dr. habil., Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg
research interests:
  • Medieval and Early Modern German Literature
  • Historical Narrative Theory and Medieval Poetics
  • Medieval Courtly Culture
  • History of Knowledge and Science
  • Medieval Media and Adaptation
  • Textual Editing

contact info:

office hours:

  • All being held via Zoom
    Monday and Wednesday, 1:00 to 2:00 pm
    by appointment
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mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1104
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Schneider's research and teaching interests are in medieval and early modern literature, with a focus on narrative theory and poetics, late medieval court literature, and pre-modern history of thought and knowledge.

Christian Schneider is the author of Hovezuht (2008), a monograph on the nature and functioning of literary discourses on courtliness in late medieval court societies. His second book, Logiken des Erzählens (forthcoming with De Gruyter), examines the logic of storytelling in vernacular epics from the 12th and 13th centuries. In addition to essays on topics ranging from the concept of "fictionality" in pre-modern literature to late medieval and early modern scientific writings, he has co-edited five essay anthologies, among them Erzähllogiken in der Literatur des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit (2013), Knowledge in Motion: Constructing Transcultural Experience in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1200–1750) (2017, with Gerhild Scholz Williams), and Der "Welsche Gast" des Thomasin von Zerklaere: Neue Perspektiven auf eine alte Verhaltenslehre in Text und Bild (forthcoming with Heidelberg University Publishing).

Professor Schneider's teaching covers the full range of medieval and early modern literature, with a particular interest in the aesthetics and poetics of medieval literary culture. His course offerings include general courses in German language and culture and the history of the German language. He also teaches in the program in Comparative Literature and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities.

Schneider was a Volkswagen Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Washington University from 2012 to 2013. In 2016, he was awarded a Marie S. Curie FCFP Senior Fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. He has received additional research grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In 2010–11, Schneider co-curated an exhibition on the Manesse Codex and medieval German love lyric which is documented in Der Codex Manesse und die Entdeckung der Liebe (2010). From 2011 to 2014, he also headed an editing project on Thomasin's von Zerklaere Der Welsche Gast. This work is being done within the Collaborative Research Centre 933, "Material Text Cultures," at Heidelberg University, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Fall 2020 Courses

Advanced German: Core Course V (German 302D)

Continuation of Ger 301D. Refinement and expansion of German communication skills (speaking, listening, writing, reading), deepening understanding of German grammatical structures, acquisition of more sophisticated and varied vocabulary, introduction to stylistics through discussion and analysis of literary and non-literary texts. In addition to the regular class meetings, students should sign up for a twice-weekly subsection. Prerequisite: German 301D, the equivalent, or placement by examination. Note that Ger 340C/340D, Ger 341/341D, or Ger 342/342D are a prerequisite for most 400-level courses.

    German Literature & Culture, 1150-1750: Medieval Arthurian Romance

    This undergraduate seminar offers an introduction to medieval German epics, with the emphasis in medieval German romances on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Representing a new wave of vernacular literature in late-twelfth- and early-thirteenth-century Germany, the genre of courtly romance provides key documents for the establishment of a new, refined aristocratic culture. Drawing on French models, the texts tell stories of adventure and love, but also of coming-of-age, self-realization, and the legitimization of aristocratic power. The course focuses on three of the most widely read and influential German romances, Hartmann von Aue's Erec and Iwein, Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, and the legend of the Holy Grail. Ample room will be reserved for the comparison of the German versions to related accounts in other languages, including Chrétien de Troyes and the late-medieval Middle English chivalric romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Through short introductory modules on Middle High German, the course also enables students without previous exposure to medieval German to read and interpret the texts in their original language. Prerequisite: German 302D and German 340C/340D OR German 341/341D OR German 342/342D or permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.