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Wolfram Von Eschenbach

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WOLFRAM VON ESCHENBACH, vtarriim fen eslecn-blio (c.1165-c.1220). The greatest of Middle High German epic poets. He was born at Eschenbaeh, near Ansbaeh, in Bavaria, and passed his life chiefly at the Court of Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia, where lie was associ ated in friendly rivalry with Walther von der Vogelweide (q.v.) and is supposed to have taken part in the poetical contest of the Wartburg (q.v.). He tells us that he could neither read nor write. This made him an independent thinker and gives him a place between the courtly and the popular poets of his day. with less re spect for traditions of vocabulary and syntax and a greater mastery of language and startling metaphor than either. His thought is clear and deep, his humor unfailing, his Ed,rasp on life strong. He begins his literary prolluction \yin Dawn-Songs (Tugcligder) of love in the Proven eal manner, lent lie soon bade farewell to these exquisite trifles to deal with great spiritual ques tions in Parzirdzi (between 1200 and 1210) and IVil1rha!sg. The subjects are French, but the treatment is German. Parziral (see PERCEVAL) adapted from Chrestien de Troyes, gave to the saga of the Grail its final form and contains much shrewd criticism of chivalry and Court life. On

it Richard Wagner based the supreme effort of his musical genius. Wif/clialm is in the main his torical and philosophic, with charming scenes of household joys and wedded love. Two fragments of another epic. Titurel, are dubiously attributed to Wolfram. No work of the poets of his period is more instinct than his with the ideals and aspirations of chivalry at its best.

Wolfram's Il'orks were edited by Lachmann (Berlin, 1833; 5th ed. 1891); Par.-ziral and 7'itu rel best by Bartsch (2d ed., Leipzig, 1875-77). Of rurzira/ there are modernized versions by Simrock (6th ed.. Stuttgart, 1833) San-Marte (Halle, I S86 , who has written also a volume of Parcqral-Rtudien (2d ed., Berlin, 1893). and Hertz (Stuttgart. 1S9S). These is also an admirable English version by Jessie Weston (London, 1894). Consult: San-Marte, Li-ben und Diehten Wolframs son Esehenbach (Magdeburg, 1836-41) ; IThtticher, Die Wolfram littcrnttn• sent Lachmann (Berlin, 1 StiO ) id., Das Ilohelied ram. Rittertum lib., 1886) Sattler, Die rcligiosen Anschanungen Wolframs von Eschenbach (Gratz, 1895) ; Panzer, Bibliographic zu Wolfram von Esehenbach (5lunich, 1897).