A native of California’s Central Valley, Thomas Leek attended classes at CSU
Chico before completing his BA in German Literature and Classical Humanities at
the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He completed his undergraduate studies
while taking part in the Academic Year in Freiburg program through the UW
Madison Study Abroad Office. An extra year of study in Freiburg gave Professor
Leek the opportunity to prepare for a graduate career at the University of
Minnesota in the Germanic Medieval Studies program offered through the
Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch. In June of 2009, he defended his
dissertation on a set of 13th-century folktales attested in German, French and
Latin sources. He has been with the UWSP Department of Foreign Languages since
the fall of 2009.
Professor Leek’s research interests include medieval literature, folklore and
historical linguistics. He teaches courses in German language, literature and
culture. He is currently writing about the Middle High German romance Mai und
Beaflor and the Middle High German Chronicle of Emperors.
University of Minnesota, PhD., Medieval Germanic Studies, 2009.
University of Wisconsin, BA., German Literature and Classical Humanities,
“The 13th-Century ‘Constance’ Tales.”
Abstract: Four texts from the 13th century make up the first attestations of
the “Constance” plot, a version of ATU 706 “The Father who Wanted to Marry his
Daughter.” This dissertation harmonizes a comparative investigation of these
tales with an analysis of the cultural milieu of the Middle Ages. The figure of
the sexually persecuted and exiled daughter comes to the forefront of popular
culture as discourse on repentance centers around the correction of monstrous
sins. In the “Constance” tales, the daughter reconciles her repentant father
and husband, between whom power is transferred on account of the heroine’s
suffering. A thematically similar anecdote in the Chronicle of Morea points
toward an international motif of an errant daughter benefiting the man she
marries against her father’s initial wishes.
Dissertation Advisor: Anatoly Liberman
Recent and Forthcoming
"On the Question of Orality behind Medieval Romance: The Example of the
'Constance' Group." Folklore. Forthcoming.
"Jans Enikel and the Orthodox East." Amsterdamer Beitraege zur aelteren
Germanistik 68 (2011): 217-232.
“Demons, Demoniacs and Goth. skohsl.” Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic
Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis 13.2 (2008): 279-292.
“Holda: Between Folklore and Linguistics.” Indogermanische Forschungen 113
Recent and Upcoming Conference
"Why Don't We Take this Outside? Creating Networks of Learners." Wisconsin
Association for Foreign Language Teachers. Appleton, WI, November 4, 2011.
Presented with student Ryan Nelson.
"Persecuted Heroines in the Kinder- und Hausmaerchen." Rocky
Mountain Modern Language Association. Albuquerque, NM, October 14, 2010.
"Immobile Suffering: The Significance of Pain and Injury in Medieval Incest
Tales." German Studies Association Conference. Oakland, CA, October 8,
"The Incest Motif and the Court." 45th International Congress on Medieval
Studies. Kalamzoo, MI, May 14th, 2010.
“A Change of Focus: Male Heroes in the Background.” Southwest/Texas Popular
& American Culture Conference. Albuquerque, NM, February 26, 2009.
“Demons, Demoniacs and Goth. skohsl.” Germanic Linguistics Roundtable.
University of California, Berkeley, April 5, 2008.
“The Other East: Rus in the World Chronicle of Jans Enikel.” GSA
Conference. St. Paul, MN, October 3, 2008.