Reference > Cambridge History > Renascence and Reformation > Barclay and Skelton > English protestant dialogues
  German influence on English literature Grobianus  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

IV. Barclay and Skelton.

§ 15. English protestant dialogues.


Towards the end of the century, translations of sensational German news sheets occur sporadically in the Stationers’ register. These details of strange occurrences, explained by protestant pessimists as signs of doom, became extremely popular in England, as is seen, for instance, in Ben Jonson’s The Staple of News. A ballad of bishop Hatto was entered in the Stationers’ register in 1586, and the story of the greedy ecclesiastic occurs again in The Costlie Whore, while The Piper of Hamelin is mentioned in Verstegen’s Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in 1605. Of the numerous German collections of amusing stories, compiled by learned and unlearned authors in the sixteenth century, sometimes without method, sometimes attached to certain presonalities, and illustrating with coarse humour the low life of the time without much pretension to literary distinction, only a very few became known in England. Strange to say, of the most interesting figure of all, Markolf, we have only a few traces. 33  The Pfaffe Amis, in spite of his being called a native of England, seems quite unknown. In The Parson of Kalenborowe (Der Pfarrer von Kalenberg), c. 1510 (?), we have a very free prose version of a South German original, but taken, probably, from a more copious Dutch prose narrative. Of Howleglass, something is said in the chapter which follows this. Copland’s versions of the feats of Eulenspiegel, the best known representative of German low life of the time, printed between 1559 and 1563, were thought the oldest ones, until, a few years ago, there was found a short fragment of a much older one, printed by John of Doesborch 1516–20. It is a very clumsy translation, full of misunderstandings, taken not from one of the High German versions but from a lost Low German original. 34    65

Note 33. Cf. Herford, pp. 267 ff.; Brie, Eulenspiegel, p. 72. [ back ]
Note 34. Cf. Brie, “Eulenspiegel in England,” Palaestra, XXVII. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  German influence on English literature Grobianus  
 
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