Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(890 words)

The term “legend” (German Sage) emerged as a scholarly category around 1800 through the classification of heterogeneous, mostly written traditions. Before this, the word did not denote a literary genre, but simply a narrative of events (since the 17th century, especially implying fictitiousness). From the early 19th century, however, the term came to denote a piece of the supposedly oral so-called folk literature that was highly prized in Romanticism. Until this period, “legend” tended to be used synonymously with “fairy tale,” but the collection of Deutsche Sagen (“German L…

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Seidenspinner, Wolfgang, “Legend”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 22 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_026892>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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