Dr. Albrecht Classen was born in 1956 near Bad Hersfeld in Northern Hesse. He studied at the universities of Marburg, Erlangen (Germany), Millersville, PA (USA), Oxford (Great Britain), Salamanca (Spain), Urbino (Italy), and Charlottesville, VA (USA). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1986.
He has a broad range of research interests covering the history of German and European literature and culture from about 800 to 1800.
His publications (currently 73 books) include a monograph on Oswald von Wolkenstein and his Italian sources (1987), a post-structuralist interpretation of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Titurel (1990), a comparative analysis of 15th-century autobiographical European poetry (Autobiographische Lyrik, 1991), a monograph on the German Volksbuch (1995), a critical investigation of late-medieval songbooks (2001), an extensive investigation of the communicative community as portrayed in Middle High German literature (Verzweiflung und Hoffnung, 2002), a study on a notorious medieval myth (The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process, 2007), then The Power of a Woman’s Voice in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (2007), Deutsche Schwankliteratur des 16. Jahrhunderts: Studien zu Martin Montanus, Hans Wilhelm Kirchhof und Michael Lindener (2009), and (together with Lukas Richter) Lied und Liederbuch in der Frühen Neuzeit (2010).In 2011 appeared Sexual Violence and Rape in the Middle Ages and Sex im Mittelalter (both monographs). He also published translations of Moriz von Craûn (1992), Tristan als Mönch (1994), Diu Klage (1997), Mai und Beaflor (2006), and the poems by Oswald von Wolkenstein (2008). In 1999 appeared a book on late-medieval secular German women songs, followed by a monograph on religious women songs from the same time period (2002). In 1999, he edited a volume with critical articles, entitled The Book and the Magic of Reading in the Middle Ages. Other volumes that he edited are: Meeting the Foreign in the Middle Ages (2002), Violence in Medieval Courtly Literature (2004), Discourses on Love, Marriage, and Transgression in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (2004), Childhood in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (2005), Old Age in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (2008), Urban Space in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times (2009), Laughter in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times: Epistemology of a Fundamental Human Behavior, Its Meaning, and Consequences (2010), and, most importantly, the 3 volume Handbook of Medieval Studies (2010). Most recently (March 2011) appeared a new volume, Friendship in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age, which he edited together with Marilyn Sandidge. In Sept. 2011 also appeared the volume War and Peace, ed. together with Nadia Margolis, and in 2012 a volume on Rural Space in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Time. He has been commissioned to edit a 3-vol. Handbook of Medieval Culture (De Gruyter), and currently he is preparing a volume on East Meets West in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Time.
In 1996, he held a visiting professorship at the University of Trieste, Italy, and Freiburg, Germany. In the summer of 1999, Prof. Classen served as Rotarian University Teaching Fellow at the Eötvös-Lorand-University, Budapest, Hungary, in November 2001 he was visiting professor at the University of Valencia, and in March 2004 at the University of Sevilla (both Spain). In 2008 and 2010 he was guest professor at Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, South-Korea, and in 2010 at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, UK. He was also guest professor in Helsinki (Finland), Poznan (Poland), Monash/Melbourne (Australia), and Halle (Germany). In 2011 he was the Director of the ASU/ACMRS Cambridge Summer Program at St. Catharine's College (UK). Although a passionate philologist and medievalist, he is also fascinated by modern and medieval literary theory, and applies comparative and feminist approaches to his research. He is an active contributor to the literary journal Trans-Lit2, for which he also serves as the book review editor. For many years he has written poetry and has published three volumes so far, apart from many contributions to Trans-Lit2 and other journals. Since 2010 he is the sole editor of the scholarly journal Mediaevistik.
He has published two CD-ROMs with readings of Middle High German and Early Modern German poetry (Chaucer-Studio).
As a result of his passion for teaching, he has won a number of prestigious teaching awards, most recently the Five Star Faculty Award (2009) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teeaching 2012 Arizona Professor of the Year Award. In 2004, the German government honored him with the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Band, the highest civilian award of merit. He also received the status of University Distinguised Professor in 2004 for his accomplishments in teaching. In 2006, he received the AATG Teacher of the Year Award for the College Level. In 2007, the German community of Borsum made him to its honorary citizen. The South Eastern Medieval Association awarded him with a prize in recognition of his research as a medievalist in 2007. In 2009 he won the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Research, the highest award given by the University of Arizona. In 2012 he was awarded with the title "Friend of German Award" from the AATG.
In 2010 he was elected Vice President and President Elect of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. In 2011 he also assumed, once again, the role of President of the Arizona Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German.
He is a dedicated volleyball player and loves bicycling.
See his abbreviated Curriculum Vitae