People / Emeriti


Elaine Tennant

Professor Emerita

Research Areas

Medieval and early modern literature; Habsburg court society in the early modern period; development of the German language in the late Middle Ages; text and time image; textual instability; Vienna

5411 Dwinelle

Office hours:
by appointment

Recent Courses

Fin-de-siècle Vienna; 15th and 16th Century Literature; The Nibelung Tradition; Minnesang; the Crusades; Early Modern Autobiography


Elaine Tennant, James D. Hart Director of The Bancroft Library, is Professor in the Departments of German and Scandinavian and affiliated with the Program in Medieval Studies. She did graduate work at Harvard and the University of Vienna. Her main areas of research are Habsburg court society in the early modern period, development of the German language in the late Middle Ages, and the Middle High German narrative tradition. Her teaching has been concerned primarily with the literary and cultural traditions of the Holy Roman Empire in the medieval and early modern periods, although she also teaches courses on modern subjects. She has offered seminars on women in courtly literature and society, the German experience of the Crusades, Minnesang, genres of social discourse in early modern Germany, and modes of premodern German historiography. Tennant’s publications include a monograph on the emergence of the German common language, a study of vocalism in sixteenth-century German primers, and essays on Gottfried’s Tristan, gender interactions in the Nibelungenlied, the relationship between verbal and visual culture in early modern Germany, New Historicism, premodern historiography, textual instability, intellectual property etc. Her is current research is on the reception of Maximilian’s Theuerdank, and earliest European reactions to the discovery of Mexico.