Christian Schneider

​Assistant Professor of German
Director of Undergraduate Studies
PhD, 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:

  • Monday 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday 1:00 - 2:00 pm​
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mailing address:

  • CB 1104
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

Professor Schneider’s research and teaching interests are in medieval narrative theory, late medieval courtly culture, pre-modern history of thought and knowledge, and textual criticism.

Schneider is the author of a monograph on the formation and function of courtly ideals within the literary life of the Habsburg and the Salzburg courts in the 14th century (Hovezuht, 2008). 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 several essay anthologies. A volume on medieval literary theory (Mittelalterliche Poetik in Theorie und Praxis) appeared in 2009, another volume on Erzähllogiken in der Literatur des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit in 2013.

In 2010–2011, 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). His current book project is on the logic of storytelling in German narratives from the 12th and 13th centuries. Here he examines how the narrative logic of vernacular literature in this timeframe was shaped by the poetological, audiovisual, and particularly the performative contexts of medieval storytelling.

He has studied in Passau, Norwich, Heidelberg, and Vienna. He was the recipient of a graduate scholarship (2000–2002) and a PhD scholarship (2004–2007) from the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes). In 2012–2013, he received a Volkswagen Foundation postdoctoral fellowship to work at Washington University in St. Louis. He has received additional research grants from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Since July 2011, Professor Schneider has 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 (DFG).

recent courses

Advanced German: Core Course V (German 302D)

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.

    The Art of Storytelling in Medieval German Literature (German 520)

    Whether oral or written, whether everyday or literary elevated storytelling, whether books, films, plays, opera, or dance, much of our experience is condensed in stories. As studies in the field of narrative psychology and cognitive theory have shown, there is good reason to assume that the way we experience our environment is based on preconscious, proto-narrative scripts that help us guide our way through the complexities of our everyday world. But how do we tell stories? And did humans at all times tell stories in the same or similar ways? In this seminar, we will explore how twelfth- and early-thirteenth-century literary cultures, in Germany, moulded their experiences as narrative. We will look at the specifics of medieval German storytelling, study contemporary tools of narrative theory, and ask if and to what extent they are applicable to pre-modern narrative. Possible readings include: excerpts from the so-called "Spielmannsepik" (König Rother, Herzog Ernst); medieval heroic epics (the German Rolandslied, the Nibelungenlied); Middle High German Arthurian romance (Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach). 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.

      German Literature and Culture, Medieval Arthurian Romance (German 4100)

      This course offers an introduction to medieval German epics, with the emphasis on 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 Iwein, Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, and Gottfried von Straßburg's Tristan. 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.