Women, wives, and marriage in the world of hans Sachs

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In recent scholarship the intensive sixteenth-century marriage discourse has gained new interest, but almost all investigations have focused on marriage tracts, marriage sermons, and some prose novels (Volksbücher). Hans Sachs, famous for his prolific output, also made important contributions to this marriage discourse. The analysis of a number of his plays and poems indicate that Sachs was keenly aware of the problematic relationship between husband and wife and tried to develop strategies for both with which violence could be avoided and a peaceful, harmonious relationship be achieved. Remarkably, Sachs realized that women were often the victim of 'domestic violence' and deserved much better treatment by their husbands, but he was, despite his best intentions, not able to jump over his own shadow and to project alternative gender relationships. In this sense, Sachs's poetic statements prove to be symptomatic for his time and demonstrate a remarkable sensitivity with respect to the endemic problems of marriage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-521
Number of pages31
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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