Rise of Nationalism and the Othering of Perceived Outsiders in Sixteenth-Century Germany

Germany was increasingly referred to in nationalistic terms during the Renaissance by using phrases such as ‘we Germans’, ‘all of Germany’, and ‘common German fatherland’, even though German nationalism remained largely cultural rather than political until the nineteenth century.[i] The growing nationalistic sentiment during early modern Germany created a romanticised vision of German heritage and…

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Monstrous Women: Hair, Gender, and Sexuality in Early Modern German Prints

The concept of shape-shifting and representations of human-animal hybrids in both literary sources and the visual arts captured the early modern European imagination. This phenomenon is particularly evident in the prevalence of pictorial prints featuring these creatures dated in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, produced in the regions of Germany, around the time of…

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Germanic Warrior Wolf Tribes: Werewolves, Shamanism, and Outlaws

Old Norse literature is filled with stories of shape-shifting transformation of humans and gods alike, reflecting oral traditions of several hundred years.[i] These transformations were either voluntary, hereditary, or the result of a curse.[ii] They include The tale of Ulf (‘Wolf’), which is described in Egil’s Saga, written in Iceland in 1000 A.D., in which…

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WILD MAN: Saint or Sinner

The Representation of Wild Folk During the German Renaissance The wild man was inspired in part by pagan hybrid woodland creatures like the satyr, however, much of the mythology of the wild man stems from barbarians of Europe.[i] For much of the Middle Ages, they were considered the antithesis of the civilised Christian society. They…

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A Brief Historical Background to the Werewolf Myth in Sixteenth-Century Germany

in companion to Dana Rehn’s exhibition talk for Lupercalia ‘The Werewolf in German Renaissance Prints During the Witch Trials,’ Saturday 13 April 2019 The sixteenth century was marked by a period of significant change from the Renaissance, Age of Discovery, and the Reformation that created instability and anxiety. Together with the popularity of prints and…

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