Parzival: Wolfram Von Eschenbach

Our new rhyming verse translation of Wolfram von Eschenbach's 'Parzival' is now available for browsing and download.

Wolfram developed and completed Chrétien de Troyes' unfinished 'Perceval', which is also available on the site, to create one of the most complex works of the Medieval period, with its wealth of related characters, and in so doing added a rich dimension to the Grail legend. His take on the legend is unique, 'Parzival' being designed primarily as a courtly tale, rich in personages and incident, occasionally rising to poetic heights, and full of Wolfram's entertaining literary personality. As to its spiritual depth, readers must judge for themselves. Parzival himself is the knight militant who through spiritual love and desire attains lordship of the Grail, and he appears in contrast to Gawain, the courteous knight, and exemplar of chivalry, who ultimately fails in the same quest, and settles for earthly lordship. 

This version reflects the octosyllabic couplets of the original, but is not a line by line translation, rather it condenses the Middle High German, and seeks to clarify meaning. Wolfram himself it could never be, but hopefully readers will find here a readable version which loses nothing essential of the original, and may prove more lively and resonant than versions in prose. Those researching the work in fine detail, are advised to refer back to the German text before quoting from this version. 

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