Sexual Violence and Rape in the Middle Ages: A Critical Discourse in Premodern German and European Literature

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Contrary to modern assumptions, sexual violence and rape were treated as severe crimes in the Middle Ages. This book examines the testimony in medieval and early modern German literature and traces the discourse on both aspects from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries. Most comments about rape come from male writers, and medieval literature contains numerous examples of rape sceneswhich are mostly viewed highly critically. Previous studies on this topic have focused on English, French, and Italian literature, whereas here the emphasis rests on German examples.