Vast in its scope, incomparably dense in its imagery, Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival ranks alongside Dante's Divine Comedy as one of the foremost narrative works to emerge from medieval Europe. This book is a new translation of Parzival, together with the fragments of the Titurel, an elegiac offshoot of Parzival, and the nine love-songs attributed to Wolfram. Parzival is the greatest of the medieval Grail romances. In its depth and complexity of characterisation this work of the early thirteenth century anticipates the modern novel. It encompasses deeds of chivalry, tournaments and sieges, courtly love, and other erotic undertakings, but also sin and penance, and a deeply moving study in depression. Centre stage are the Grail Castle and Arthur's Round Table, but the pagan world of the Orient also is also reflected. Parzival has inspired and influenced works as diverse as Wagner's Parsifal and Lohengrin, Franz Kafka's The Castle, Terry Gilliam's film The Fisher King, and Umberto Eco's Baudolino. Cyril Edwards' thoughtful translation vividly conveys the power of this complex, wide-ranging medieval masterpiece. CYRIL EDWARDS is a lecturer in German at St Peter's College and Research Fellow of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford. He is the author of The Beginnings of German Literature (Camden House, 2002), and numerous articles on the medieval lyric and Old High German. His previous translations include Hans Sachs's "Song of the Nose" for the King's Singers, Bernhard Maier's Dictionary of Celtic Religion and Culture (Boydell & Brewer, 1997) and The Medieval Housebook (Prestel-Verlag, 1997).
A fine volume with excellent translations and commentaries. For Anglophone readers who wish to know Parzival and the other works, this should become the standard translation. ARBITRIUM Edwards has established a new benchmark for English editions of Wolfram's works, and his volume earns the right to succeed A. Hatto's as the standard. SPECULUM Very well produced.... An important resource for scholars, students and serious aficionados; and publisher and translator are to be much applauded for making this exciting text better known to non-German speakers. TLS Even readers with little or no German will be able to savour more than a whiff of the challenging power of the medieval original. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW