Home > Free Essays > Literature > Aspects of American Novels > The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius

The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Dec 24th, 2021


A hagiographic legend is a term that is used to refer to a legend that entails religious matters where people follow religions of their choice. When talking of hagiographic legend is usually adopted and applied when talking of religious leaders. Such a legend covers the biography of a so-called ‘holy man’. These kinds of stories may vary in terms of place, time, and the religions that are involved. Such kinds of stories are usually defined by the contents which are contained in it as well as the structure in which they have been presented and thus they are not defined by the form in which it appears or represented since this it can make it very difficult to comprehend and analyze them. In such a story, the life and the actions of the person in question are discussed in detail for people to read. A romantic legendry on the other hand deals with the love story of the legend, where in such a story, all the actions of the legendry done in the form of romance are all recorded (Fennell, p. 42). Therefore, there is a very big difference between the two however the two of them share some similarities, especially in their features. An example in which the stories are presented can be distinguished from the prose form which has been adopted, the composition, and even the verses which have been indicated.

The biggest question here that this essay is trying to answer is whether the Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius can be classified to be a Hagiographical Legend or Romance Legend. Going by its foundations and developments, it shall be worth agreeing that there is much connection with the same to romantic hagiographic. This is because it so much focuses primarily or rather so much on its concept of being a hagiographical romance, especially in Gregorius Hartmann’s Prologue. Also, there are some very great significant differences that it contains in itself as compared to some more formalised forms of hagiographical legend in their structure. Some of these features will be discussed in the essay.

The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius

The prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius is created in such a manner that it contains the version of one of the most popular stories in the bible called The parable of good Samaritan. It is very funny that even this man called Hartman had no slightest knowledge of any theological literature during the time he was living in this planet earth. The fact that he confusedly used the parable means that he was actually never at times very reliable when it comes to the matters of what they call details in literature. Some of the opinions that actually emerged as a result of some of the statement that were used in the writing indicated that there was a tendency of overlooking some facts like the fact that allegory necessarily does not easily lend itself readily to some things like literal analysis as well as the interpretation. In such an aspect, it only means that the work is just but a product of imaginative creativity and not any elusive quality work. The work is actually believed to be created out of his illusions. This means that such work can only be judged and ranked by its own standards (Walshe, p. 78).

The issues of authority do not apply in such a case. This means that there is no way under any circumstance work done out of imagination or personal illusions can be measured or compared using the laid down standards. It has for that matter been discovered that the work of this great man is very different from the version of the gospel. This is because it has been found to have two main innovations which are not in the biblical version. Also, most of the innovations can not at all match with the initial writing which was done in the writings of theology. This issue has raised a lot of discussions in that, it is not clear if the work differed due to the differences in the expertise of the poets who did the writing. Also, it has been thought that he did the modifications in the initial parable so as to actually suit his own intended needs when he thought of the writing. Most of the people who studied it actually, due to the great and uncountable questions they had which had no one to answer, they concluded that only him was in a position to answer them and in a satisfactory manner (Tobin 188). This is because; only he alone can be able to give the lead towards the purpose of his modified writing.

Most of the people who read it, due to the use of standards to measure its worth argued that the work he did was very imperfect as compared to the initial work that was done in the scriptures and also his ideas were completely contradicting the original idea that was intended when the scriptures were written. The first one hundred and seventy words written before the poem were actually what the readers refer to the prologue. They were intended to introduce the next part of the poem in a harmonised manner.

Features in the romance prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius

Basically, this man is known as a saint due to his critiques on sin and he actually did term sin as an action that can never be hidden. In the prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius which is basically a hagiographic of romance, the man is basically concerned with high lighting vicissitudes of one man who was born as a result of an act of incest. The act was committed by a brother and a sister. As it is known, the act of incest is a one very grave like’s sin as far as the Christian doctrines are concerned. It was evidently clear according to the story from the time the man was born and more evidence is revealed as the man grows up. The story is a romantic Hagiographic because it covers a story that relates to a one very well known story in the bible. This is whereby the son King David raped his sister and then gave birth to a daughter. The story starts by the description of the strong fraternal love that existed between the two siblings before they got to the level of committing incest. It is at the moment the man’s father was dying that he laments of the fact that he had not done his duties as a father to the daughter in terms of providing for her needs (Walshe, p. 190).

It is actually at this point that the father passes on his responsibility of taking care of the daughter while he is gone forever to the son. As far as the man is concerned, the daughter is in good hands and he is certain that even when he will be away, her daughter will be provided for all her needs. This is because, he innocently believes that the great love and care the son had for the daughter was out of his responsibility and the virtue of being this girl’s brother. Therefore, the father knows that deep in his heart he can trust the love of his son towards the daughter. After all no parent in actual sense would ever imagine a grandchild whose origin is from his own children. Also, his father believes that due to the fact that he had been way from the children, the great love the brother can actually substitute the fatherly love while he is gone or rather compensate the fatherly love she had lacked for all those years. The father had no hidden agenda in having such thoughts. He actually felt that at least in his son, the daughter has a father and a brother someone to provide all of her needs as well as love her unconditionally. The love between the two siblings is actually strengthened by the fact that they share a family bond in the form of flesh and blood (Walshe, p. 187).

The two are actually left without any parents and so there is a very great need for them to stick together and also love each other more and more. This is what explains the great need for a special affection for each other. It is so obvious that there has been an imbalance that has been caused and is needed to be rectified. The void left in the lives of both of them must be filled and so such a fact even justifies their act and in such a case the loss was more on the side of the daughter. As I have mentioned, earlier, this girl had grown up with the absence of the fatherly love and so that describes the greater need of affection as compared to the brother. Therefore, having no one else to do it, it means that she had to get it from the brother who was always ready to take care of her. It is of course the responsibility of the brother to fill stand up in the father as a son in his absence and in that case to even play all of roles. In that case, the father of course expects the son to do that on his departure. It is even in the mind of his son that the sister’s is his responsibility as soon as the father dies. Of course he is aware that, with both of their parents dead, then it means that he being the man has to be there for the sister. The fact of the matter is that, with only the two of them since they are orphans their world has to revolve around them (Walshe, p. 298).

One of the things that Hartmann has done in his prologue is the use of a French story and then wrote it in a German language so as to ensure that his own audiences are able to understand it. He has done this by expanding some of the descriptions and changed some of the circumstances as well as morals to add intrusions to the story. He is focused on teaching people that no sin can be able to get a covering from the grace of God. In writing the epilogue, Hartmann Gregorius shows that he was one of the first men to be guilty of incest. He shows in his writing that he was more on the hagiographic romance rather than a legend (Walshe, p. 43). This is because his story is critically based on the religious aspects of the society. He is so much out to pin point the issue of incest and the consequences which are very serious. He is not dealing with any particular legend in the bible or any other holy book but basically, he is relating a story that is written in the bible to write the epilogue.

The way in which this man has presented his work has some characteristics or features that shows that it is a hagiographic romance. According to the definition of a hagiographic story it is a story that entails religious matters. Usually the person being spoken about or speaking about the story is such a religious person. The entire biography and history being spoken about is in such a critical manner that, such a legend basically covers the biography of a so called holy man. These types of stories may vary in terms of place, time and the religion that is involved. This kind of a story is usually defined by the contents it contains as well as the structure. It is actually not defined by the form in which it appears or represented. In such a story, the life and the actions of the person in question are discussed. A romantic legendry on the other hand deals with the love story of the legend (Salih, p. 46). In such a story, all the actions of the legendry done in the form of romance are all recorded. Therefore, there is a very big difference between the two, although the two of them shares some similarities especially in their features. An example of such is the prose form, the composition and the verses. This definition therefore fits perfectly for the story to be referred to as a romantic hagiographic.

The story shows a love affair and this is whereby two people of different or opposite sex are involved in a love affair. The brother and the sister are involved in a love affair whereby the fraternal love and the fatherly love of the brother towards the sister are turned to a romantic love. This happens in the process of the brother trying to take care of the sister after the death of the father. The brother is to play the role of a father as well as the role of a brother. That responsibility entails a lot of emotional output which later ends up bringing them even closer to each other hence the act of sex that resulted to the baby boy being born.

The story has some aspects of social being where socialization has to do with the issue of people living together in harmony. It entails sharing some things like with the example which shows that the two siblings shared a house, a family name, cultural practices, religious values, activities and even food. They also shared even a stronger bond between the two of them which is love. In other wards, the two of them are not at any one particular moment shown having negative feelings or reactions towards each other. The aspect of socialization is very well represented in the story (Hollingsworth, p. 98).

A hagiographic story entails the present life and shows how the past was so that the present could be the way it is that time (Lambdin, p. 98). In the story the issue of the family is well described. There is a brief summary of the fact that the mother of the two siblings died. This left the girl with a motherly love deficiency. Apparently, the father himself was also not there for the girl as she grew up. In the process, the girl grows up feeling very much rejected and it was not long after the mother die that the father too dies. However, this man realises his mistake for not being there for the daughter and then delegates the duty to the brother. Due to that circumstance, the two of them grows strong romantic feelings towards each other and this later result to incest and son is born.

The story is very much identical to an incidence that was once recorded in the bible. This is whereby, a one brother raped her sister and they bore a daughter. There is therefore a relation in the story of a legend in the bible with the contents of the epilogue that he wrote. It also contains some aspects of emphasizes. The writer has really emphasized on the fact that if the father was keen in playing his role as a father to the daughter, then what happened could not have happened. That if the father had done his part, then the brother would not have had a burden to fulfil some of the extra obligations he fulfilled to the sister (Nagupta, p. 29)

This story has also the aspect of societal changes as much as there is a need for the moral restrictions in the religion. The two of them never intended to go to that far in the first place. None of them knew that it would reach to that far and hence the brother was simply playing his part so as to fulfil the wishes of his dying father. He had to be what his father demanded of him to be. He had to be a father as well as to be a brother at the same time. By doing that, his boundaries were not limited at any particular point (Salih, p. 154). The story has also been an instrument to the study of some of the least known features of the society in the olden days. The issue of incest has for a long time been a taboo in the society. Therefore, by writing about such a story, the writer wants to take the readers to some of the societal values that could be long forgotten especially in this modern generation (Clemence, p. 76). In other wards, the writer’s work was very instrumental in as far as the reminder of the societal requirements is concerned. His work was very instrumental in that particular area of reference.

Syncretism is a feature that is very well shown in the epilogue and a strong situation in which some of the societal lifestyles are incorporated in the store that is being written and what can be critically examined and elaborated. A good example is whereby the father as it happens in the society calls his children at the verge of his death on the bed side to give them some instructions. He actually delegates duties and also gives his dying wishes. In this case, the father delegates the duty of taking care of his daughter to the son. He actually passes on all his responsibilities to the son to continue performing them once he is dead.

The story is also written to show religious people how the onset of one sin can lead to a series of many others. For example, the father of the two children failed in his duties to play the role of a father to the two of the children especially the daughter. Then as a result the brother takes over the role or the duty and on the process the brother grows deep feelings for the daughter which results to them having an affair that resulted to the two of them committing incest. Incest is one of the sins that are very much condemned in most religions (Terras, p. 203).


The paper has been dealing with the Prologue of Hartmann’s specifically the version of Gregorius. The epilogue through a number of mentioned parts of it proves that the legend of Gregorius Hartmann’s prologue not really a hagiographical legend but it is more of a romance although some of its bits have also proved it to have aspects of reference to some of the biblical legends. A number of features have shown it to be more of romance hagiographical legend or story in that it involves a love affair between two siblings who even gives birth to a son through an act of incest.

Works Cited

  1. Bosley, Richard. The Changing Profile of the Liturgical Calendar. Moscow: ITZ-Garant, 1997.
  2. Clemence, Dane. The Legend. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  3. Fennell, John. A History of the Russian Church. New York: Longman, 1997.
  4. Hollingsworth, Paul. The Hagiography of Kievan Rus. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.
  5. Lambdin. Laura. Arthurian Writers: A Biography Encyclopaedia. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2008.
  6. Nagupta, Junior. The Romantic Legend of Sakya Buddha. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  7. Salih, Sarah. A Champion to Middle English Hagiography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  8. Terras, Victor. Handbook of Russian Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  9. Tobin, Frank. Gregorius and Der Armie Heinrich. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.
  10. Walshe, Maurice. The Prologue to Hartmann’s Gregorius. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
This essay on The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2021, December 24). The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prologue-of-hartmanns-gregorius/


IvyPanda. (2021, December 24). The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prologue-of-hartmanns-gregorius/

Work Cited

"The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius." IvyPanda, 24 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-prologue-of-hartmanns-gregorius/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius." December 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prologue-of-hartmanns-gregorius/.


IvyPanda. "The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius." December 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prologue-of-hartmanns-gregorius/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius." December 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-prologue-of-hartmanns-gregorius/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Prologue of Hartmann’s Gregorius'. 24 December.

Powered by CiteTotal, online bibliography generator
More related papers