Frank Bezner

Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature Emeritus
M.A. Classics and Medieval Latin 1996 University of Tübingen
Dr.phil. Medieval Latin 2000 University of Tübingen
Research Interests: 
Medieval Latin Literature; Neo-Latin Literature; Intellectual History; Material Philology
fbezner [at]

My main research interest lies in the Latin literature of the long Middle Ages. I approach this still relatively ignored terra incognita from a set of related questions that all revolve around a practice of contextualizing and re-contextualizing: What is the relation between literary texts and the intellectual, institutional, and political milieus in which they originate? In what way did medieval and Neo-Latin literary texts negotiate ideas, values, and political claims from within these milieus? Which critical categories are necessary to explore and analyze the undervalued role of a symbolic medium as Latin literature as part of medieval and post-medieval contexts? And how, in turn, do our accounts and histories of these contexts - of medieval institutions, intellectual fields, and political sites - change in the light of these often ignored literary texts? What interests me, in short, is an intellectual and cultural history of medieval and post-medieval Latin literature and literary culture. As part of this approach I am also increasingly interested in material philology and the ways how the materiality of texts can be understood as a site of cultural and intellectual practices.

More specifically, I have so far concentrated on two major epochs:

  • The "Renaissance of the Twelfth Century" (or better the "long 12th century")
  • Late-Medieval and Humanist Latin Historiography of the 15th/16th centuries
Current research:
  • Subjects of Desire. Readings, Histories, Genealogies of Medieval Latin Love Poetry [new project]
  • Parchment's Momentum. Ms Phillipps 700, Scribal Cultures and the Temporality of Medieval Manuscripts [forthcoming; expanded version (with different focus) of my book Von der Liturgie zur Geschichte]
Select Publications: 
    • 'Vela Veritatis'. Hermeneutik, Wissen und Sprache in der Intellectual History des 12. Jahrhunderts, Leiden/Boston/Cologne: Brill (STGMA, Vol. 85), 2005 (695pp.)
    • Von der Liturgie zur Geschichte. Die Riesenbibel von St. Maximin und die "Historia Excidii Sancti Maximini", Ramsen: Heribert Tenschert (Illuminationen, Vol. 15), 2011 (336pp.; pp. 21-41 written by E. Koenig)
    • (ed., with K. Mahlke), Zwischen Wissen und Politik. Archaeologie und Genealogie fruehneuzeitlicher Vergangenheitskonstruktionen, Heidelberg: Winter (Akademiekonferenzen VI), 2011

    Articles (selection):

    • "Simmistes Veri. Das Bild Platons in der Theologie des 12. Jahrhunderts", in: The Platonic Tradition in the Middle Ages. A Doxographic Approach, eds. S.Gersh/M.Hoenen, Berlin: de Gruyter, 2001, pp. 95-137
    • "Ich als Kalkuel. Abaelards Historia Calamitatum diesseits des Autobiographischen", in: Abaelards Historia calamitatum. Text, Uebersetzung, literaturwissenschaftliche Modellanalysen, edited by Dag N. Hasse (W. de Gruyter, 2001), pp. 140-177
    • "Lorenzo Valla", in: Lateinische Lehrer Europas, edited by Wolfram Ax (Boehlau, 2005), pp. 353-388
    • "Wissensmythen. Lateinische Literatur und Rationalisierung im 12. Jahrhundert", in Wolfram Studien, Vol. 20 (2008), pp. 43-72
    • "Rhetorische und stilistische Praxis des lateinischen Mittelalters", in: Rhetorik und Stilistik. Ein internationales Handbuch, eds. J. Knape et al, Berlin: de Gruyter (Handbuecher zur Sprache und Kommunikationswissenschaft HSK), 2008, pp. 326-348
    • "Pellegrino Prisciani und die Praxis der Historia: Ferrareser Renaissancegeschichtsschreibung und ihr Kontext", in: Zwischen Wissen und Politik, eds. F. Bezner and K. Mahlke [see above under books], 41-70
    • "Iam non opus est figuris. Konzeptualisierung und Literarisierung des Figuralen bei Peter Abaelard", in: Figura. Dynamiken der Zeichen und Zeiten im Mittelalter, edited by Katharina Mertens Fleury and Christian Kiening, Wuerzburg: Koenigshausen und Neumann (2013, in press)

    Entries in Dictionaries/Reviews (selection):

    • "Herakles", in: The Reception of Myth and Mythology, ed. Maria Moog-Gruenewald, Leiden-Boston: Brill (Brill's New Pauly: Supplements, 4), 2010, s.v. [ca. 35 cols.]
    • 16 entries (e.g. on Peter Abelard, Peter Damian, William of Conches, Bernardo Gui) in: Lexikon Theologischer Hauptwerke, edited by Eberhard Juengel et al. (Kroener, 2003)
    • "Aby Warburg", "Hermann Usener", in: Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, edited by Hans-Dieter Betz et al., (Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 2 cols.