Portraitfoto Katharina Palme

Katharina Palme

Antagonistic Characters and Character Relations in Middle High German Heroic Epics

My doctoral project investigates how antagonistic relations between characters and groups of characters are established and acted out in Middle High German heroic epic. In doing so, I will make reference to heroic epic peculiarities associated with the conception, representation, and motivation of antagonistic characters. The theoretical background of the thesis will discuss how the role of the antagonist is distinguished as a character of contradictions in Middle High German heroic epic. Using characters from the ‘Nibelungenstoffkreis’ and the ‘Historische Dietrichepik’, the thesis will show how these contradictions are staged, evoked, and narratologically deployed. The aim of the study is to make the ambivalent character of the antagonist more concretely comprehensible in order to develop a basis for further studies, including comparative ones.

Research interests
  • Languages and literatures of the Middle Ages (esp. Middle High German and Old Irish)
  • Heroic sagas
  • Construction of Otherworlds
  • Historic Narratology and Character Studies
  • 2022
    Doctoral Fellow of the RTG Contradiction Studies at the University of Bremen.
  • 2022
    DAAD fellowship for a bi-national Dissertation – declined.
  • Since 2021
    member at the AWA (Arbeitskreis Wiener Altgermanistik)-Nachwuchsnetzwerk at the University of Vienna.
  • 2021
    Erasmus-Internship at Bedey & Medea GmbH, Hamburg.
  • 2018 – 2019
    Internship at the Greek Consulate of Hamburg.
  • 2017 – 2018
    Master in Medieval Language, Literature and Culture, Trinity College Dublin.
  • 2016 – 2017
    Erasmus-scholarship at Trinity College Dublin.
  • 2015
    Award for excellent studies at the University of Vienna.
  • 2012 – 2017
    Bachelor in German Philology at the University of Vienna.
  • 2011
    Representative of the Greek National School and Church of Vienna at the program „Greeks abroad“ in Athens.
Talks, Workshops, and Events
  • 2023
    Talk Antagonistische Figuren und Figurenrelationen in der mittelhochdeutschen Heldenepik [Antagonistic characters and character relations in Middle High German heroic epic poetry] at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel in a Seminar of Prof. Dr. Timo Fel­ber, 12.01.2023.
  • 2022
    Talk Antagonistische Figuren und Figurenrelationen in der mittelhochdeutschen Heldenepik [Antagonistic characters and character relations in Middle High German heroic epic poetry]. XVIII. Altgermanistisches Colloquium am Hesselberg, 04.10-06.10.2022.
  • 2022
    Talk Hagen von Tronje: Adjuvant für den Untergang oder Opponent aller? Eine strukturalistische Analyse [Hagen von Tronje: Adjuvant to the Downfall or Opponent of All? A Structuralist Analysis]. Chair Meeting of Prof. Dr. Beate Kellner (LMU Munich) and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stephan Müller (University of Vienna) in Wolfenbüttel, 14.07-15.07.2022.
  • 2022
    Talk Hagen von Tronje: Vom Antagonist zum Bösewicht zum Antiheld. Überlegungen zur diachronen Entwicklung und Rezeption einer Antagonistenfigur [Hagen von Tronje: From Antagonist to Villain to Antihero. Reflections on the diachronic development and reception of an antagonist character]. Figuration des Bösen, Interdisciplinary conference at University Koblenz-Landau, 01.06-03.06.2022.
  • 2021
    Poster Presentation Die Figur des Antagonisten in der mittelhochdeteuschen Heldenepik [The character of the antagonist in Middle High Dedean heroic epic poetry] at AWA (Arbeitskreis Wiener Altgermanisten), 16.12.2021.
  • 2021
    Online-Talk The Character of the Antagonist in Middle High German Heroic Saga at the 69th National Collogquium in German Studies (University of London), 26.11.2021.
  • Summer Term 2023 | U Bremen
    Seminar Das Nibelungenlied

“Contradictions are an important driver of scientific practice and knowledge.”

Norman Sieroka
name contradiction

“Contradiction becomes real where someone names contradiction.”

Ingo H. Warnke

“According to Niklas Luhmann, space is a ‘special facility to negate contradictions’”.

Julia Lossau
l’illusion d’une unité

“Foucault speaks of contradiction as l’illusion d’une unité.”

Ingo H. Warnke
Is contradiction eurocentric?

“Is contradiction a eurocentric concept, operational phenomenon, and instrument of power?”

Kerstin Knopf