Elaine Tennant did graduate work at Harvard and the University of Vienna. Her main areas of research are the Habsburg court society in the early modern period, the development of the German language at the end of the Middle Ages, and the Middle High German narrative tradition. Her teaching at Berkeley focuses on the literary and cultural traditions of the Holy Roman Empire before 1700, although she occasionally offers courses on modern subjects (particularly Vienna) as well. She teaches seminars on women in courtly literature and society, Germany and the Crusades, social discourse and historiography in early modern Germany, the Nibelung tradition from the 13th c. to the 20th c., and the age of Maximilian I. She has done a variety of service tasks on campus for the German and Scandinavian Departments, the Academic Senate, and at present directs The Bancroft Library. Tennant has published on the emergence of the German common language, vocalism in 16th c. German primers, Gottfried von Strassburg's Tristan, gender in the Nibelungenlied, word and image in early European print culture, intellectual property etc. Her continuing (chronic?) research project centers on Emperor Maximilian's first autobiography, Theuerdank (1517), which remains one of the great landmarks of early European printing. Another long-term interest of hers are the first responses of Europeans to the Indigenous cultures of Mexico in the early 16th c.
Research Expertise and Interest
German, Habsburg court society in the early modern period, the development of the German language at the end of the middle ages, the Middle High German narrative tradition, literary and cultural traditions of the holy roman empire, history of the book