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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Edition guidelines

The texts in this edition consist basically of two parts: on one side is the transcription of the manuscript, and on the other side is the editorial notation, including normalizations, corrections and punctuation.

The transcriptions

  1. The transcriptions are an accurate representation of the manuscripts, showing column divisions, indented verses, coloured initials and other similar features. Despite the priority given to accuracy, there are some features that had to be unified.
  2. For practical reasons, when varying graphemes for the same letter occur (e.g. varying forms of s, d, r, which occur rarely in these manuscripts) only s <ſ> is used.
  3. Upper and lower case letters at the start of verses are faithfully represented. It is often hard to decide if majuscule has been used. Assuming relative sizes creates a large area of uncertainty. In our opinion the lettering of majuscule has to be different from miniscule, but deciding which is always difficult.
  4. It is not always possible to decide which sign was used as a diacritic. In such cases we standardise very carefully.
  5. Transcription of A (burnt in 1870, known due to the editions by Myller 1784 and Grimm 1815) are based on Myller, because this is a clean transcription. He retains, e.g. the abbreviations which are not visible in the version by the Grimms. Myller expands the diphthongs with diacritic markings, but always so that they remain visible and can be reproduced. The corrections the Brothers Grimm made to Myllers transcription are retained.
  6. When transcribing those parts of fragments D and E that are no longer legible, we relied on the transcription by Kurt Gärtner, which was completed with earlier studies in mind and which has been made available via the Hartmann-Portal.

Editorial normalisations

  1. The edition uses the modern form of letters. A presentation option allows allographs to be unified (in our case only the conversion <ſ> → <s>).
  2. Abbreviations are expanded. The so-called nasal tilde becomes <m> or <n> or <en> or <e>; <v>̄   becomes vnd. The r-sign X becomes ̾   <r> or <er> or <re>, depending on position and meaning.
  3. The alternating use of <u> and <v> which is typical for medieval literature, has been unified: <u> donates vowels (vndund), and <v> consonants (grauegrave). The same applies to <i> and <j> (vocally jmmerimmer; half-vocally iamerjamer).
  4. Diacritic signs are treated in different ways. If it is intended to present an umlaut, this is what is marked, e.g. <u>e  , <v>e  , <v>ˆ   /ü/ is shown as <ü>. Diphtongs are expanded: e.g. <u>o   → <uo>, <o>v   → <ou>. If no sound value is apparent, the diacritic is ignored: ẏ → y. In Hs. A <u>'   for /i/ (ſu', wu' r) which occurs frequently, is presented as an umlaut <ü>.
  5. In general separate and compound spelling reflects the manuscript (although the manuscript evidence is not always clear), and some obvious compounds, which appear separated, are written together. Also combined with their verbs are prefixes which are obviously separated from the stem, which occur in Bb (and to a lesser extent also in Ba).
  6. In Ba and Bb a vertical line demarcates or marks the small word e (mhd. ê, nhd. ehe / eher); we treat this line in a similar way to the punctuation marks of the manuscript. These consist mainly of rhyming marks (point in the middle) or vertical lines (virgules); their function is transferred into modern punctuation.
  7. Punctuation is applied in accordance with modern rules and in line with our understanding of the text. Apo koinou constructions are clear due to the missing punctuation, as in the translation. Direct speech is shown in quotation marks; after inquit-expressions we use a colon.
  8. Initials marking a new sentence or paragraph in the manuscript are presented as such in the transcription; in the edition they are merely highlighted in colour. At the beginning of a text they usually cover two lines, with some extra large letters covering three lines. In accordance with medieval tradition they are alternately coloured red and blue. They occur at irregular intervals and mark paragraphs of varying length and type. An internal logic is sometimes, but not always, recognisable. These initials could have served as a kind of bookmark, highlighting interesting passages. There is little conformity of these initals between ms. A and the mss. Ba and Bb. There is conformity between Ba and Bb but not always. Fragment E uses the paragraph mark ¶ to separate sections.
  9. No symbol is used over vowels to symbolise length of pronunciation (^). We assume that the relevant length for the vowel can usually be easily determined by the reader.
  10. Conversion of the text into ›classic‹ Mittelhochdeutsch is not intended, because the intention is to show each document in its historic form.

Editorial interventions

  1. Interventions occur to make corrections (seldom) or additions where there is an obvious mistake. Mistakes are taken to be occurances that make no sense and that do not repeat themselves, showing no systemic character.
  2. Vagaries of rhyme or metre, whether too long or too short, are not considered to be mistakes.


Dietmar Peschel's translations, which correspond closely to the original text, don’t try to improve on the text, but rather to make the original form accessible to a modern public. This is why apo koinu constructions are transferred, why leaps of the imagination or apparent contradictions remain, and also why irony or platitudes are sometimes imitated.