Hartmann von Aue is a major figure in medieval German literature; his works are important in the history of chivalry, highlighting its key features at an important phase of transition and consolidation. His unusual position as an educated knight gave him access to the worlds of clerical learning and spirituality as well as secular aristocracy, and he draws on all these sources to provide a complex and revealing vernacular self-interpretation of knighthood. This book is the first full-scale enquiry into the presentation and the role of knighthood and chivalric values across the full range of Hartmann's poems; Dr Jackson considers chivalry and its social and ideological dimensions in Hartmann's works, and in the historical context. The various strands of influence that informed the developing ideology of chivalry in the late twelfth century are explored, fruitfully combining literary, linguistic and historical approaches.The opening chapter places Hartmann's works in the broader perspective of Arthurian literature and of kingship and chivalry in the twelfth-century, while the second examines the historical reality of knighthood as a military and a social order in twelfth-century Germany. Further chapters are devoted to each of Hartmann's works, 'Erec, Gregorius', the 'Klage' and his lyrics, 'Der arme Heinrich' and 'Iwein', which are interpreted with a historical perspective, and in the light of Hartmann's French sources. This study linksup to current debates on both the historical study of chivalry, and the literary interpretation of Hartmann's poems. It sheds fresh light on the relation of aesthetic stylization and social function in these works, and contributes to an understanding of the history of aristocratic self-consciousness by analyzing the social, ideological and literary dimensions of chivalry in the works of an educated and thinking knightly author. Dr W.H. JACKSON teaches in the Department of German, University of St Andrews.