William C. McDonald




New Cabell Hall, Room 229

Office Hours:

Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. and by appointments

  • Ph.D. Ohio State
  • M.A., Wayne State University
  • B.E., Wayne State University


Medieval German literature, German pedagogy

I teach composition and conversation for majors and minors; Middle High German and courtly romance for graduate students.


Whose Bread I Eat: The Song-Poetry of Michel Beheim

The Tristan Story in German Literature of the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance

Arthur and Tristan: On the Intersection of Legends in German Medieval Literature


"King Mark: Gottfried’s Version of the Ovidian Husband-Figure?” Forum for Modern Language Studies, 14 (1978).

"Concerning Ambiguity as the Poetic Principle in Kürenberg’s ‘Falcon Song’,” Euphorion, 72 (1978): 314-322.

"The Maiden in Hartmann’s ‘Der arme Heinrich’: Enite redux?” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschriftfür Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 53 (1979): 35-48.

 Concerning  Oswald von Wolkenstein’s ‘Wie vill ich sing und tichte’ (Klein 23) as Religious Autobiography,” Jahrbuch der Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, 2 (1982/83): 267-286.

“A Pauline Reading of Der Wilde Alexander’s ‘Kindheitslied’,” Monatshefte, 76 (1984): 156-175.

’Too Softly a Gift of Treasure’: A Rereading of the Old
High German ‘Hildebrandslied’,” Euphorion, 78 (1984): 1-16.

The ‘Nobility of Soul’: Uncharted Echoes of the Peraldean Tradition in Late Medieval German Literature,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 60 (1986):543-571.

“The Fool Stick: Concerning Tristan’s Club in the German Eilhart Tradition,” Euphorion, 82 (1988): 127-149.

“Aspects of Time in Hartmann’s ‘Der Arme Heinrich’,” Monatshefte, 80 (1988): 430-443.

“The Boar Emblem in Gottfried’s ‘Tristan’,” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 92 (1991): 159-178.

“King Mark, the Holy Penitent: Ona Neglected Motif in the Eilhart Literary Tradition,”Zeitschrift fürdeutsches Altertum, 120 (1991): 393-418.

 “Observations on the Language of Courtesy in the ‘Iwein’ of Hartmann von Aue,” The Ring of Words in Medieval Literature (1993): 219-256.

Reprint of my article “Gottfried von Strassburg: ‘Tristan” and the Arthurian Tradition” (1989) in the volume Tristan and Isolde: A Casebook,ed. Joan T. Grimbert (1994): 147-185.

“Tristan, der je manheit wielt: Heinrich von Freiberg’s  ‘Tristan’ as Emblem of Medieval Masculinity,” Tristania , 19 (1999): 97-113.

“Mythos Eulenspiegel—Sieg eines zwitterhaften Listreichen,” Verführer, Schurken, Magier, ed. Wunderlich and Müller (2001): 227-241.  Series: Medieval Myths.

“The Likeness of a Lady: Concerning the Interior of the Hero’s Shield in the ‘Erec’ of Hartmann von Aue, Leuvense Bijdragen, 90 (2001): 403-418.

Nû  bewegete der vrouwen smerze/ Êrecke sô gar sîn herze (Erec, 8334-5): Apropos Hartmann’s Compassionate Knights,“ Mediävistik, 16 (2003):101-121.

 "Turnus in Veldeke’s Eneide: The Effects of Violence,“ in Violence in Medieval Courtly Literature: A Casebook, ed. A. Classen(New York & London: Routledge, 2004): 83-95.

“Ěrec der wunderære: On Epithet as Exegesis inHartmann’s Erec,“ Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 105 (2006): 257-274.

“Diu rîche vrouwe Didô (v. 7558): Dido as Exemplar in the Erec-Romance of Hartmann von Aue,“ Orbis Litterarum. 62 (2007): 483-519.

Reprint of “The Boar Emblem in Gottfried’s Tristan,“ in Classical and Medieval Literary Criticism, Volume 96 =CMLC-96), 2008.

“Erec der wunderaere, Tristan der wunderaere: Concerning the Derivation of an Epithet in the Tristan of Gottfried von Strassburg,“ Studi Medievali , L (2009):191-202.

“Michel Beheim’s Literary Assault on the ‘Sin against Nature.’ A Neglected 15-Century Text on Sodomy,” Daphnis, 38 (2009): 399-420.

"Concerning the Use and Abuse of a Medieval Statue in Germany from 1920-1940. The Case of the Bamberger Reiter,” Perspicuitas: Internet-Periodicum für mediävistische Sprach-Literatur-und Kulturwissenschaft (2010).

“Armed Conflict as a Deadly Sin: Michel Beheim’s Verses on Wrath” (1457-ca. 1470).”  In War and Peace: New Perspectives in European History and Literature700-1800, ed. Margolis and Classen (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011).

Book Reviews

Some 40 Reviews in, among others: 
Monatshefte, Colloqua Germanica, Schatzkammer, Semasia, Fifteenth-Century Studies, German Quarterly, Speculum, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Tristania, Mediaevistik, and Modern Language Notes

Awards, Grants and Honors

NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2005-8
Learning Assessment Grant, several times
Sesquicentennial Associate
Editor of the academic periodical Fifteenth-Century Studies; Editorial Board for Tristanis.

Faculty List

Manuela Achilles

Associate Professor of German and History & Director of the Center for German Studies; Director of German Undergraduate Programs.

Dorothe Bach

Associate Director & Associate Professor, Center for Teaching Excellence

Benjamin Bennett

William R Kenan, Jr, Professor of German

Thomas W. Best

Professor Emeritus

Beth Bjorklund

Professor Emeritus

Paul Dobryden

Assistant Professor

Robin Ellis

Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer

Gabriel Finder

General Faculty, Associate Professor and Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies

Jeffrey Grossman

Associate Professor and Chair

Janette Hudson

Professor Emeritus

William E. Jackson

Associate Professor Emeritus

Volker Kaiser

Associate Professor

William Little

Professor of German and Music Emeritus

Lorna Martens

Professor of German and Comparative Literature

Cora Schenberg

Assistant Professor

Marcel Schmid

Assistant Professor

Rebekah Slodounik

Assistant Professor

Walter Sokel

Professor Emeritus (Deceased 2/2014)

Gordon Stewart

Professor Emeritus

Renate Voris

Professor Emeritus

Chad Wellmon

Associate Professor