Wagner's Ring in 1848

Wagner's Ring in 1848

New Translations of The Nibelung Myth and Siegfried's Death

Edward R. Haymes

Makes available in reliable English translation Wagner's original Siegfried libretto and his early essay on the Nibelung myth.

In 1848 Richard Wagner began what would become the largest stage work of his career, the Ring of the Nibelung. In preparation for the task he composed an overview of the Nibelung myth designed to lead to a drama; he then composed the verse "libretto" Siegfried's Death. Although he abandoned the idea of a single opera on Siegfried in favor of the huge project that developed out of it in the succeeding years -- the Ring cycle -- he did consider the two early documents important enough to include them in his collected works. The present volume seeks to inform the English-speaking reader in three ways: by providing modern, reliable translations of the two Wagner texts, which are otherwise not available (the German original is provided on facing pages); by furnishing an overview of German scholarship available to Wagner and others working on the Nibelung legend in the first half of the nineteenth century; and by making available a bibliography of further reading. The volume will be useful to students of musicology, to students and historians of myth and legend, and to all Wagnerians interested in the genesis of the Ring cycle. Accessible to the general reader, it maintains scholarly rigor and provides information about materials not available in English.

Edward R. Haymes is Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Cleveland State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Wagner's Nibelungs in 1848
Commentary on The Nibelung Myth
Der Nibelungen-Mythus. / The Nibelung Myth
Commentary on Siegfried's Tod and the Transformation to Götterdämmerung
Siegfried's Tod / Siegfried's Death


[S]omething of a scholarly tour de force of historical exegesis. [Haymes] gives an absorbing and detailed account of how the Nibelung legend became part of the lingua franca of the developing sense of national identity that fed the heady revolutionary fervor of 1848. . . . [S]heds interesting new light on familiar material. . . . In making these primary texts available to the English reader in accessible translations and by giving an overview of German scholarship available to Wagner and others working on the Nibelungen legend in the first half of the nineteenth century, Haymes has done the cause of English-speaking Wagner research an essential and enduring service. MUSIC & LETTERS

A gem of a book.. The introduction convincingly answers crucial questions Ring enthusiasts are forever asking: Which Icelandic, Old Norse . and Middle High German sources was Wagner familiar with? What sources were in Wagner's own library? Which . contemporary or German Romantic writers may have inspired Wagner? . Excellent English translation. WAGNER NOTES

Excellent scholarship is evident, yet the book is accessible and interesting to the general reader.. Haymes's footnotes provide a superb bibliography for studies of the Ring. . Recommended. CHOICE

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