1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boner, Ulrich
BONER (or Bonerius), ULRICH (fl. 14th century), German-Swiss writer of fables, was born in Bern. He was descended of an old Bernese family, and, as far as can be ascertained, took clerical orders and became a monk; yet as it appears that he subsequently married, it is certain that he received the “tonsure” only, and was thus entitled to the benefit of the clerici uxoriati, who, on divesting themselves of the clerical garb, could return to secular life. He is mentioned in records between 1324 and 1349, but neither before nor after these dates. He wrote, in Middle High German, a collection of fables entitled Der Edelstein (c. 1349), one hundred in number, which were based principally on those of Avianus (4th century) and the Anonymus (edited by I. Nevelet, 1610). This work he dedicated to the Bernese patrician and poet, Johann von Rinkenberg, advocatus (Vogt) of Brienz (d. c. 1350). It was printed in 1461 at Bamberg; and it is claimed for it that it was the first book printed in the German language. Boner treats his sources with considerable freedom and originality; he writes a clear and simple style, and the necessarily didactic tone of the collection is relieved by touches of humour.
Der Edelstein has been edited by G. F. Benecke (Berlin, 1816) and Franz Pfeiffer (Leipzig, 1844); a translation into modern German by K. Pannier will be found, in Reclam’s Universal-Bibliothek (Leipzig, 1895). See also G. E. Lessing in Zur Geschichte und Literatur (Werke, ix.); C. Waas, Die Quellen der Beispiele Boners (Giessen, 1897).