Saintly Spouses: Chaste Marriage in Sacred and Secular Narrative from Medieval Germany (12th and 13th Centuries)
In 1146, Emperor Henry II was canonized as Germany’s first virgin king and royal confessor saint. The grounds for his canonization were his religious devotion and his celibate marriage to Cunegund of Luxemburg, who was canonized a half century later. This book argues that their canonization caused the idea of conjugal chastity to enter the political realm and shaped the beginnings of vernacular writing in medieval Bavaria. The book presents twelfth-century German hagiographic and literary texts that extol marital chastity as an ideal, including the Middle High German legends of Henry and Cunegund, the German Alexius A, and the German bridal-quest epics Der Münchner Oswald and Orendel.