Der “Märchenprinz” von Eav: Ein MittelAlterlicher Topos in Neuem Gewand1

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In 1985 the Austrian rock-band ERSTE ALLGEMEINE VERUNSICHERUNG, EAV for short, landed their first number-one hit with the song ‘Mächenprinz’ (fairy-tale prince). In it EAV makes use of the age-old topos of the socially superior male who is looking for love or sexual favours from peasant girls. In the thirteenth century the German Minnesinger Neidhart chose this as the basic theme for his poetry, and in doing so started a tradition which was enormously popular for the next 200 years in a variety of media, such as literature, music, dance, theater, and painting. A comparison of Neidhart's songs, in particular his Winterlieder (winter songs), with the ‘Märchenprinz’ brings to light startling similarities in style and content which may be more than just coincidence, namely a sign of intertextuality. In the last twenty years renewed interest in the poetry of Neidhart and his followers has led to a flood of scholarly and popular books on the subject, as well as concerts and recordings of Neidhart-songs, which may have prompted EAV to add a twentieth-century version to the long list of Pseudo-Neidharts.

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