Stories of Attila the Hun’s Death- Narrative, Myth, and Meaning

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As a “world-historical” figure, Attila the Hun captured the imaginations of Roman imperial chroniclers and early Germanic epic poets alike. Specifically, the momentous event of Attila’s death was interpreted quite differently as it became incorporated into various Roman, Byzantine, and gothic narratives. Working within the tradition of narrative studies and drawing upon the ideas of historian Hayden White as well as structuralist/narrativist literary theory, this study explores and interprets the rich ideological contradictions surrounding the ‘stories’ of Attila’s death which circulated in the late classical and early medieval world.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by Robert A. Sonkowsky
1. Attila and the Huns – History and Story: The Dethronement of Clio; Historical Background – the Later Roman Empire; the Emergence of a Scholarly Consensus; Walter Goffart’s Study (1988)
2. The Getica: Attila’s Death as an Ironic Tragedy: Structural Aspects, Rhetorical Aspects, and the Historical Context of the Hun Narrative
3. The Walthersaga: Attila’s Death as Comic Crux: A Survey of Scholarship; Ekkehard’s Rewriting of History and Legend
4. The Nibelungensaga - The Problem of Etzel’s Survival: Historical, Symbolic, and Formalist Explanations
5. Conclusion
Appendix: Bucking Horses in the Getica; Bibliography

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