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Dr Sarah Bowden

Sarah BowdenLecturer in German

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 5597
Address Department of German
King's College London
Room 5.07 Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE





Sarah Bowden studied German and Latin at Clare College, Cambridge, where she stayed to take an MPhil and PhD funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She also spent time as a visiting student at the Universities of Freiburg im Breisgau and Cologne. In 2010 Sarah was elected to the post of Powys Roberts Research Fellow at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and joined King’s College London as Lecturer in German in 2012.

As undergraduate admissions tutor for the Department of German, Sarah organises open days, events and school visits. She would be happy to hear from students and teachers alike.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Early Middle High German literature (c.1050–1170)
  • Middle High German epic and romance
  • Medieval religious culture
  • Genre and literary history

Sarah Bowden’s research is on medieval German literature, culture and thought. One main focus has been the group of Middle High German texts known as ‘bridal-quest epic’, on which she has recently published a monograph with the MHRA, Bridal-Quest Epics in Medieval Germany: A Revisionary Approach. In this book, she offers a major reappraisal of one of the canonical, yet problematic, genres of medieval German literature.
Sarah’s current research focuses on the relationship between theology and vernacular literature in the 12th century. She is interested in the development of German as a literary language in 11th and 12th centuries and its relationship with writings in Latin, as well as its influence on the later vernacular literary culture. One particular focus is on confession; she is investigating the development and change of the penitential system in the 12th century and how thoughts about confession are expressed in literary texts.

She also has an interest in the history of scholarship on medieval literature and on the different versions – medieval and modern; German and Latin – of the story of Herzog Ernst, on which she has published an article.

Sarah welcomes enquiries from potential postgraduate students in medieval German literature.

For more details, please see Sarah's full research profile.

Selected publications
  • Bridal-Quest Epics in Medieval Germany: A Revisionary Approach (London: MHRA, 2012)
  • 'A False Dawn: the Grippia episode in three versions of Herzog Ernst', Oxford German Studies 41 (2012), 15–31
  • 'Sehen, Sichtbarkeit und Reliquien im Grauen Rock', in Sehen und Sichtbarkeit in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters, ed. by Ricarda Bauschte, Sebastian Coxon and Martin Jones (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2011), pp. 240–53
  • ‘Zur Poetik des mehrsinnigen Verstehens. Der allegorische Stil der Hochzeit’, in Literarischer Stil. Mittelalterliche Dichtung zwischen Konvention und Innovation, ed. by Elizabeth Andersen, Ricarda Bauschke-Hartung and Silvia Reuvekamp (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015)
  • ‘Dinge und ars in Salman und Morolf’, in Dingkulturen/ Verhandlungen des Materiellen in Literatur und Kunst des Mittelalters, ed. by Anna Mühlherr, Bruno Quast, Heike Sahm and Monika Schausten (Berlin: Akademie, 2015)
For a complete list of publications, please see Sarah's full research profile.
Sarah Bowden teaches at all levels in the German Department. The majority of her teaching is on medieval topics, but she also enjoys teaching translation and collaborating with colleagues who work in other periods or departments.

Current modules

4AAGA114 Texts and Contexts
4AAGA102 Medieval Germany: Language, Literature and Society
5AAGLB06 Core Language 2 (Translation)
5AAGLB03 Translation from and into German 2
5AAGB213 The Beginnings of the Arthurian Tradition in Germany
6AAGB622 Death and the Afterlife in Medieval and Modern German
7AAEM718 The Arthurian Tradition in Literature and History
Expertise and public engagement

Sarah is happy to talk to the public or the media about any aspect of medieval German literature or culture.

Sarah regularly organises in-house events for language-learners and works on a number of outreach initiatives with schools. 

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