GLOBALISM BEFORE GLOBALISM: THE ALEXANDER LEGEND IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE (PRIEST LAMBRECHT’S ACCOUNT AS A PATHWAY TO EARLY GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES)

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Abstract

We certainly live in a world today determined by globalism, however we might want to define it. But it would be erroneous to assume that earlier centuries, and not even pre-modernity, were entirely ignorant about foreign worlds and did not have any interest in reaching out to, or in approaching foreign countries, peoples, and cultures either peacefully or militarily. The first part of this paper examines some of the misconceptions and then outlines many features that justify us in using the term ‘globalism’ already at that early stage, maybe free of much of the modern baggage brought upon by the colonialist attitude pursued by early modern Europeans. To illustrate the claim more specifically, this then leads over to a detailed examination of one of the many versions of the Alexander narratives in the Middle Ages, specifically of Priest Lambrecht’s Middle High German Alexanderlied. Although Alexander is presented as a conqueror of the Persian empire and the Indian kingdom, apart from many other countries, there is still a strong narrative strategy to open the perspective toward the East and to make it to an integrative part of the global worldview of the western European audiences. This and many other Alexander versions contribute in their own intriguing way to the process of “worldmaking,” as Nelson Goodman (1978) had called it. Although historic-fictional in his approach, Lambrecht facilitated in a path-breaking way, drawing on many classical sources, of course, the establishment of a global vision, at least in the mind of his medieval audiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere79311
Pages (from-to)813-833
Number of pages21
JournalEsbocos
Volume28
Issue number49
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 29 2021

Keywords

  • Globalism before globalism
  • Medieval literary perspectives
  • Priest Lambrecht

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Anthropology

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