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Instead, here it is a stone, one that has both life-sustaining properties and the power to dispense enough food to supply the entire contingent of knights and ladies stationed at Munsalvaesche the castle of the Grail's keeping.


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The king of this castle, Anfortas, also known as the Fisher King , is gravely wounded - it is only the Grail that keeps him alive, albeit in excruciating pain. In Munsalvaesche, both king and subjects wait for someone to come who will ask the king the 'healing question' 'What is it that troubles you? Parzival, in his youthful ignorance, stumbles upon the castle and is shown the wonders of the Grail, but in order not to appear foolish, keeps his peace instead of asking the question that will bring the king relief.

The following morning, he awakes to find his host gone, and as he rides out after him, he discovers that he can no longer find his way back to the castle. For the next four and a half years he wanders, dishonored, searching for the Grail. Only when the Grail calls to him, by virtue of Parzival's name appearing in writing on the stone, does his quest end. There are several different translations of Parzival available, including this one by Mustard and Passage written in Using the look inside feature on Amazon, I compared several paragraphs side by side, and, although I suspect that they all have strengths and weaknesses, if I were forced to pick based on this tiny sample, I would probably go with the Hatto.

But, as they are all priced similarly, the Oxford edition has the advantage of including a secondary work, which may make it the best value. Translations aside, the question remains as to whom to recommend this work, aside from medievalists and scholars.

About this book

Grail researchers will also be interested, but anyone attempting this book should know it not an effortless read - nowhere near as difficult as Chaucer's Canturbury Tales or Beowulf, the translators do still attempt to reproduce Wolfram's style, and all three translations I looked at mimic an older structural and syntactical arrangement.

A brief example, as Parzival rides into Munsalvaesche for the first time: 'Little gaiety had there been here for many a day; the knights were too sad of heart. Yet they did not let Parzival feel this, and welcomed him, young and old alike. Many pages ran out to seize the bridle of his horse, each one trying to be the first, and held his stirrup for him to dismount. Some knights bade him enter the castle, and led him to his chamber, where they quickly and skillfully removed his armor.

When they then looked upon the youth, with his boy's face, still beardless, and saw how beautiful he was, they confessed that he was indeed richly blessed. Still, there is an inherent medieval atmosphere in the translations that attempt to replicate the original author's style which is missing in Ms. Patterson's re-telling, although it's difficult to know how much currency that carries. I would probably recommend the others over the re-telling simply because it feels more 'authentic' - but these are translations we're talking about, so none of them are really any more authentic than the other.

In the end, I found 'Parzival' worthwhile mostly because I appreciate the familiarity with a foundational piece of Western literature, and also because I find it enjoyable to recognize links between modern era literature and its source material. I realize that that is a very narrow recommendation - I did like the book, but I wouldn't have considered it a five-star experience, despite its reputation. But, then again, as far as star ratings go, it seems ludicrous to assign a value to a work that has survived over years--its very survival seems a better indication of its worth than a star rating by me.

So I've opted out of rating this one, though if I'd been forced, I would have probably gone with four stars as an indication of its value to me. Dec 25, Nikki rated it really liked it Shelves: myth-legend-saga-etc , arthurian , classics. Parzival took me far too long to read for me to really declare that I "liked it".

Christopher N. L. Brooke

Hatto's translation is quite readable, though I believe he tried to capture a lot of the original nature of Wolfram's writing, so it's not always straightforward and to the point. The footnotes are very helpful, especially when they indi Parzival took me far too long to read for me to really declare that I "liked it". The footnotes are very helpful, especially when they indicate alternate translations and stuff like that. The story itself, well, it's pretty much as you'd expect of a grail story of that period. Most of the knights are paragons of virtue, most of the names are unpronounceable I seriously wonder how some of them came about , the son of a white man and a woman of colour comes out both black and white -- sort of like a raspberry swirl, I imagine, only black and white It gets points for the very positive portrayal of Gawain, and I was quite intrigued by the footnote which explained that Wolfram had to equivocate a bit because of the pro-Gawain audience.

There's much less potential criticism of Gawain throughout, too. This is just more proof, I suppose. Wonder what had him so well thought of in Germany, given the mockery of him in France.


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Mar 14, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: medieval-lit , german-lit. Shame and honour clash where the courage of a steadfast man is motley like the magpie. But such a man may yet make many, for Heaven and Hell have equal part in him.

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Infidelity's friend is black all over and takes on a musky hue, while the man of loyal temper holds to the white. Based on an incomplete work of de Troyes, Eschenbach's Arth "If vacillation dwell with the heart the soul will rue it.

Based on an incomplete work of de Troyes, Eschenbach's Arthurian tale adds a considerable amount to the lore which so often draws readers into this time period of literature. The author also seems to have an amusing amount of self-awareness, leading to surprisingly funny instances of self-irony. While there are times in which I felt Parzival rambles a little bit too long, I am willing to overlook the negatives in favor of the overall positive vibes I got from it.

The misleading element of this work is that half of the time, Parzival is actually about Gawan! While this is alright by me because Gawan is an interesting character and Eschenbach's take on him is quite unique, it really came out of nowhere At least, from how I recall it happening. So a more accurate title for this work might be Gawan, ft. May 15, Amanda rated it really liked it. While the names in this thing are horrid to try to sound out I really just give each character a nick name in my head , the story is well written and very well developed, especially compared to other Authorian Romances.

Wolfram tries to give his characters motivation and explores the rationale behind the knights and their quests rather than just saying "it was done because knights did that kind of stuff, serious. Oct 27, mina francesca rated it it was ok. Apr 26, Matt rated it liked it.

Tannhaüser - Peter Mattei as Wolfram - "Oh du mein holder Abendstern" (DVD/Blu-ray highlight)

The bits dealing with the Grail and knightly activity were interesting, but the body of the book is absurdly repetitive and formulaic. It basically runs like this: Knight is in love.

Parzival: Wolfram von Eschenbach (German Library) André Lefevere: Continuum

Knight goes questing and fights people. Knight gets wounded and heals. Knight falls in love again. Repeat ad nauseam. Maybe it's better in German, but writing has improved a lot since the Middle Ages. Do yourself a favor and watch Wagner's opera instead. May 24, Nicholas rated it really liked it. I'll update this once I get around to the rest] I am in love with this story and wish I had known about it years ago.

There are so many different elements to it that make it great, I'll try to list them in no particular order. It's hilarious. Sometimes obviously by intention, sometimes out of cultural dissonance with the middle ages; most often it could be either, honestly.

Wolfram von Eschenbach

You never know when the narrato [I've only read the parts that are actually about Parzival, so I have no idea about Gawan.. You never know when the narrator is being serious or when he's joking, and he creates such a complicated character for himself that becomes completely unreliable at times. Humour and laughter are also recurring elements in the plot itself and all of this together provides a fascinating insight into what Germans found funny years ago spoiler: they already made fun of Bavarians. Christianity has a very strange place in Parzival.

The eponymous protagonist's religious education is haphazard, contradictory and seemingly pointless, despite being a major plot thread throughout the whole book. Besides being very relatable to me, it's also part of a larger network of scenes and thoughts that reflect major laical movements going on in Christianity around , such as the Crusades and Catharism. In the same vein, the portrayal of Non-Christians is equally interesting.

INTRODUCTION

The author portrays Muslims as praying to Jupiter, but knows Arabic astronomical terms; has a Christian knight fight for the Caliph in Baghdad his whole life but finally be killed by a "Heathen" who enchants his sword with goat's blood; and can't seem to wrap his head around interracial love while praising the tears of a black woman as the equivalent of a Christian baptism.

For a book written at the height of the Crusades, I find it bafflingly unprejudiced. All right, now my absolute favourite part: the names. This book is like the offspring of the Iliad and the Silmarillion and I freaking love it.