Parzival

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W. de Gruyter, 1973 - Social Science - 128 pages

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About the author (1973)

I am Wolfram von Eschenbach and I know a little about singing"; thus does perhaps the most unique personality in medieval German literature introduce himself to readers. The second part of the statement is one of the greatest understatements in the realm of literature. He is the author of two unfinished works, Willehalm and Titurel (both c.1215), and of a few surviving lyrics---all of which show great innovativeness and skill. He is best known to general audiences as the author of Parzival, a Grail romance of more than 24,000 lines. His main source is the incomplete Perceval, or the Grail of Chretien de Troyes. Whether Wolfram had another source that supplied him with the end of the tale or whether he provided it himself is not definitely known. Wolfram teases his audience on several occasions by a reference to a mysterious Kyot who supposedly transmitted the tale and who was Wolfram's chief source. Modern scholars have given up the search for Kyot, and most now assume that the completion of the Parzival story is by Wolfram himself. The basic theme of Parzival is like that of the other German courtly romances, examining how a person can so arrange his life that he is pleasing to both God and man. As in other tales, the answer lies in compassion. Wolfram's Parzival also provided the material used in Wagner's libretto for Parsifal. Wolfram Von Eschenbach was a poet. He was born around 1170. Von Eschenbach led a life as a Bavarian knight, serving lords in Abensburg, Wildenburg, and Wertheim. By 1203 he was in the court of Landgrave Hermann von Thuringen. Von Eschenbach's surviving writings include eight lyric poems. The most important of these is Parzival, a poem of 25,000 lines in 16 books that introduced the theme of chivalry and the search for the Holy Grail into German literature. The work had an influence on later poets and it was the basis for Richard Wagner's final opera, Parsifal. Von Eschenbach died around 1220.

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