Few works of the middle ages can boast the "staying power" of the "heroic" Nibelungenlied and few have generated more controversy both among scholars and the educated public. The Nibelung theme has been ubiquitous over the past 150 years in a wide spectrum of literary and as well as non-literary endeavors. It was used by Friedrich Hebbel as the basis for one of his best psychological dramas, by Wagner, along with the Old Norse analogues, for Die Ring des Nibelungen, and by the film maker Fritz Lang for his 1920s Expressionist masterpiece, Die Nibelungen. Its heroes provided suitable models for German troops who marched against Napoleon, while by the end of World War II, the Nibelung tradition had provided material for a speech by Göring, the name for Germany's western line of defense, and significantly, the cuffband designation of the last 'division' formed in the elite Combat SS.This Companion to the Nibelungenlied draws on the expertise of scholars from German, Britain, and the United States to offer the reader fresh perspectives on a wide variety of topics regarding the epic: the latest theories regarding manuscript tradition, authorship, conflict, combat, and politics, the Otherworld and its inhabitants, eroticism (in both the Nibelungenlied and Wagner's Ring), the reception both of the Nibelungenlied in the twentieth century and of its most intriguing protagonist, Kriemhild, key concepts used by the poet, the heroic, feudal, and courtly elements in the work, and an analysis of archetypal elements from the perspective of Jungian psychology.Winder McConnell is Professor of German at the University of California, Davis.
The Nibelungenlied ("The Song of the Nibelungs") is an epic poem originally written in in Middle High German around the year 1180. It tells the story of the dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge. Along with the Völsunga saga, the Nibelungenlied served as source material for Richard Wagner's famous four music dramas Der Ring des Nibelungen ("The Ring of the Nibelung"), although the storyline in the Nibelungenlied is far more extensive than in Wagner's work. Based on pre-Christian Germanic heroic motifs which include ancient oral traditions (including the Norse sagas), the Nibelungenlied first appeared from the area of the Danube between Passau and Vienna, from where the oldest manuscripts originate. The epic is divided into two parts, the first dealing with the story of Siegfried and Kriemhild, the wooing of Brünhild and the death of Siegfried at the hands of Hagen, and Hagen's hiding of the Nibelung treasure in the Rhine (Chapters 1-19). The second part deals with Kriemhild's marriage to Etzel (Atilla the Hun), her plans for revenge, the journey of the Burgundians to the court of Etzel, and their last stand in Etzel's hall (Chapters 20-39). The original was written as a poem in 2,400 stanzas, divided up into 39 Aventiuren ("adventures"). This edition has been translated into prose format, but still accurately follows the storyline of all the Adventures. It includes a complete background introductory essay by the translator, in which the history of the surviving manuscripts and their storylines are fully explored.
This English verse translation brings within the reach of the scholarly world a literary masterpiece of rare beauty. The translation offered here is based on the text of de Boor's edition of MS B (Sankt Gallen), considered by most scholars the closest to the original of the three main manuscripts.
Within the English-speaking world, no work of the German High Middle Ages is better known than the Nibelungenlied, which has stirred the imagination of artists and readers far beyond its land of origin. Its international influence extends from literature to music, art, film, politics and propaganda, psychology, archeology, and military history. Now for the first time all references to the vast Nibelungen tradition have been catalogued in this comprehensive encyclopedia containing nearly 1000 entries by several dozen international contributors, including the most distinguished scholars in the field. Readers will find illuminating passages on a variety of topics, including literary and extra-literary references, characters and place names, significant motifs and concepts, historical background, and cultural reception through the centuries. This monumental work is an invaluable guide to a fascinating, age-old tradition.
The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians. It may be considered as the worlds first fantasy story. Heroes, dragons, treasures, sword fights and magic. This is the prose version of the famous epic poem. The Nibelungenlied is based on pre-Christian Germanic heroic motifs (the ""Nibelungensaga""), which include oral traditions and reports based on historic events and individuals of the 5th and 6th centuries. Old Norse parallels of the legend survive in the Volsunga saga, the Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda, the Legend of Norna-Gest, and the iorekssaga.