Alcohol, Drunkenness, and Excess—Consumption and Transgression in European Medieval and Early Modern Literature

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Abstract

Throughout time, alcohol has been used by people all over the world, and its negative effects have commonly been the subject of many comments by critics and poets. Medieval literature is actually filled with references to wine and its excessive consumption. This paper examines the evidence we can find primarily in medieval German literature, but it also includes parallel remarks by didactic and religious writers, along with those by some English, French, and Italian contemporaries who addressed the same issue. While the criticism voiced is loud and clear, the literary treatment of drinking of wine ‒ rarely of beer, mead, or ale ‒ allows us to gain a deeper insight into the basic everyday-life conditions at that time. Reports about excess only reflect the common consumption of wine especially among aristocrats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeophilologus
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Alcohol in medieval literature
  • Drunkenness
  • François Villon
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Gesta Romanorum
  • Heinrich Kaufringer
  • Marguerite de Navarre
  • Oswald von Wolkenstein
  • Wernher the Gardenære
  • Wine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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