Johannes von Tepl (3137 words)


Some of the most interesting literary works have always been those that are oddly situated between two cultural periods, or experiment with generic categories, or challenge us in our thinking about good versus evil by way of presenting liminal, ambivalent characters. Shortly after 1400, a German author, Johannes von Tepl, penned his famous dialogue poem, Der Ackermann aus Böhmen [The Plowman from Bohemia], in which he has the Plowman (Everyman) debate with Death about the meaning, value, and consequences of death. The Plowman is deeply grieved because he has recently lost his wife and furiously argues against Death as an unjust, brutal, intolerable force in life. At the same time, the Plowman sings a paean on his deceased w…

Citation: Classen, Albrecht. "Johannes von Tepl". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 February 2021 [, accessed 22 April 2021.]

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