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Prof. Dr. Elke Brüggen

Principal Investigator

Elke Brüggen

University of Bonn
Department of German Medieval Studies
Am Hof 1d
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 7881




Current Position

Professor for Older German Studies (with particular reference to the German literature of the Middle Ages)
Director of the Department of Germanistic Medieval Studies


As a specialist for language, literature and culture of the German Middle Ages, Elke Brüggen focuses on literary constellations concerning opportunities to exert political influence and power. She gives particular attention to literary negotiations of counselling, an instrument which is central to the concept and practice of rule and to social order. Thus she highlights counsels given to rulers by dependent individuals from their entourage. In order to close a gap in research, particular attention is given to the relationships of female rulers and their confidants and to the particularly interesting character of the female adviser. Within the configuration of female ruler and female adviser she seeks to reveal the relationship between dependency and power to act and to explore narrated forms of dependency that are partially existentially threatening, depicted within constellations that display emotional proximity of various origin as well as social distance and hierarchy.

4 monographs and edited volumes, 43 articles, various reviews. Numerous national and international lectures and presentations. 1 supervised finished habilitation, 1 ongoing habilitation, 8 completed and 5 ongoing Ph.D. theses as first and second reviewer, numerous Magister- and exam theses and approximately 28 M.A. and 34 B.A. theses as first or second reviewer.


  • 1995                  Habilitation in German Philology and Venia legendi in German Studies
  • 1986                  Ph.D. in German Studies, University of Cologne, Germany
  • 1975–1982        M.A. in German Studies, English Studies, Theater, Film and TV Studies, Art History,
                              University of Cologne, Germany

Academic Positions

  • 2012/14/16        Guest lecturer in Seoul (South Korea) and Tokyo (Japan)
  • 1997–present    Professor of Older German Studies, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1984–1995        Research Associate at the Institute for German Language and Literature, University of Cologne, Germany

Participation in Centers and Collaborative Projects

  •                           Founding member and Deputy Spokesperson of the Medieval Studies Center of University of Bonn (BMZ)
  • 2016–present    Deputy spokesperson for the DFG Collaborative Research Center 1167 Macht und Herrschaft. Vormoderne
                              Konfigurationen in transkultureller Perspektive [‘Macht’ and ‘Herrschaft’. Premodern Configurations in a
                              Transcultural Perspective]
  • 2009–present    Founding member of the Bonn Center for Transcultural Narratology (BZTN)

Additional Academic Activities

  • Reviewer for national and international research organizations and foundations
  • Expert or external commissioner in several German Studies professorship appointment procedures at universities in Germany and Switzerland
  • External reviewer for the evaluation of German Studies institutes in Switzerland
  • External expert for research projects in Switzerland
  • Reviewer for the DFG, the Humboldt Foundation, the German Cusanus Foundation, the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst Foundation, the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

Third-Party Funding

  • DFG funding for TP 05 in DFG Collaborative Research Center 1167 Macht und Herrschaft. Vormoderne Konfigurationen in transkultureller Perspektive [‘Macht’ and ‘Herrschaft’. PreModern Configurations in a Transcultural Perspective]
  • Various printing and travel grants to attend conferences

Selected Publications

  • swie ez ie kom, ir munt was rôt. Zur Handhabung der descriptio weiblicher Körperschönheit im Parzival Wolframs von Eschenbach. [swie ez ie kom, ir munt was rôt. On the Use of the Descriptio of Female Beauty in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival Romance]. In: E. Andersen, R. Bausche-Hartung, N. McLelland, S. Reuvekamp (eds.): Literarischer Stil. Mittelalterliche Dichtung zwischen Konvention und Innovation [Literary Style. Medieval Poetry between Conventionalism and Innovation]. Berlin/Boston 2015, 391-411.
  • Irisierendes Erzählen. Zur Figurengestaltung in Wolframs Parzival. [Iridescent Narration. Character Depiction in Wolfram’s Parzival]. In: K. Ridder (ed.): Wolframs Parzival-Roman im europäischen Kontext. [Wolfram’s Parzival Romance in a European Context]. Berlin 2014, 333-357.
  • Belacâne, Feirefîz und die anderen. Zur Narrativierung von Kulturkontakten im Parzival Wolframs von Eschenbach. [Belacâne, Feirefîz and the Others. On the Narrativization of Cultural Contacts in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival]. In: C. Moser, L. Simonis (eds.): Figuren des Globalen. Weltbezug und Welterzeugung in Literatur, Kunst und Medien. [Figurations of the Global. Relation to and Creation of the World in Literature, Art and Media]. Göttingen 2014, 673-692.
  • With M. Bernsen, M. Becher (eds.): Gründungsmythen Europas im Mittelalter. [Founding Myths of Europe during the Middle Ages]. Göttingen 2013.
  • With F.-J. Holznagel, S. Coxon, A. Suerbaum (eds.) with the assistance of R. Katers: Text und Normativität im deutschen Mittelalter. [Text and Normativity in the German Middle Ages]. Berlin/Boston 2012.
  • With H.-J. Ziegler: Der Tristanstoff und die Manuskriptkultur des Mittelalters. Text und Bild in der Kölner Tristan-Handschrift B. [The Plot of Tristan and Manuscript Cultures of the Middle Ages. Text and Images in the Cologne Tristan Manuscript B]. In: C. Huber, V. Millet: Der Tristan Gottfrieds von Straßburg. [Gottfried von Straßburg’s Tristan]. Tübingen 2002, 23-74.
  • Fiktionalität und Didaxe. Annäherungen an die Dignität lehrhafter Rede im Mittelalter. [Fictionality and Didaxis. Approaches on the Dignity of Didactic Speeches in the Middle Ages]. In: U. Peters (ed.): Text und Kultur. Mittelalterliche Literatur 1150-1450. [Text and Culture. Medieval Literature from 1150-1450]. Stuttgart 2001, 546-574.
  • Inszenierte Körperlichkeit. Formen höfischer Interaktion am Beispiel der Joflanze-Handlung in Wolframs Parzival. [Staged Physicality. Forms of Courtly Interaction in Wolfram’s Parzival]. In: J.-D. Müller (ed.): "Aufführung" und "Schrift" in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit. [Performance and Scripture in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times]. Weimar 1996. 205-221.
  • Laienunterweisung. Untersuchungen zur deutschsprachigen weltlichen Lehrdichtung des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts. [Instructing the Layman. Studies on the German-Language Secular Doctrine of the 12th and 13th Century]. Köln 1994.
  • Kleidung und Mode in der höfischen Epik des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts. [Clothes and Fashion in Chivalric Epic of the 12th and 13th Century]. Heidelberg 1989.
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