Little is known about Gottfried von Strassburg, the greatest stylist of the medieval German period. Only one work of his, Tristan and Isolde (c.1210), has been preserved (indeed, it may well be the only one he ever wrote), and it is incomplete. Gottfried did not identify himself as the poet, and it is only through later sources that his name is linked with Tristan. Internal evidence in Tristan suggests that Gottfried stopped working on it around 1210 and it is assumed that he died shortly thereafter. Gottfried based his Tristan on the Tristan of a Latin poet named Thomas. In his prologue Gottfried makes clear that he is writing a love story for those who truly understand love. He calls those people the "noble hearts" and emphasizes that they are not necessarily noble by birth, but rather in attitude. In Tristan Gottfried moves far beyond the conventions of courtly love and examines the phenomenon of love in great detail, so that love assumes an individuality of its own and is viewed as a powerful, independent, mystical force in the world, on a level with religion. Gottfried also presents a view of the poets of his day. In the famous "Literary Excursus," he praises Hartmann von Aue for his clarity of style and criticizes an unnamed poet whom he calls "the companion of the hare, leaping willy-nilly over the word heath." It is generally accepted that Gottfried is taking his colleague Wolfram von Eschenbach to task. Gottfried, probably a native of Strassburg, was a very learned man, well versed in Latin, French, and German. Unlike his brother poets, Hartmann von Aue and Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried was not a knight, but a member of the urban patrician class. He was urbane, sophisticated, learned---more is not known of this great poet.