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human communication and miscommunication, medieval social interactions


There are many possible and useful approaches to the study of literature. One very effective way proves to be to study literary texts as platforms to explore the meaning, relevance, and workings of human communication, or the very opposite, miscommunication. Such an approach proves to be rather productive both for medieval and modern texts, from the western and the eastern tradition, whether we are reflecting on entertaining, moral, didactic, religious, or political texts. The literary work consists of words exchanged, and thus here we encounter the perfect example of a theoretical platform to discuss human interactions in many different contexts and under countless conditions. This study first theorizes this communicative approach and then elucidates it through a discussion of the fables by the Swiss Dominican poet Ulrich Bonerius (Der Edelstein, ca. 1350). The implications gained here promise to re-establish the relevance of pre-modern literature for the current generation, but the concept also works well for the analysis of modern literature.