Study Guide

Nibelungenlied Essay

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In the following essay, Mowatt talks about both the literary merits of The Nibelungenlied and its role as the German national epic.

TheNibelungenliedhas on occasion been compared to the Iliad. The fact that Germans have been impelled to make, and foreigners disposed to deride, such a comparison, is revealing in itself, for it shows the veneration both works have suffered. Assessment of their literary merit has been geographically conditioned, with Homer belonging to western civilization as a whole, and the Nibelungenlied for the most part only to Germany. But in both cases scholars have painstakingly erected a barrier between heritage and inheritors. The occasional whiff of vanished glory that came over has been made to serve the literary and political establishment. The interesting circumstance that both works deal with events and customs that must have appeared exotic, if not bizarre, to their authors, is not emphasized. The...

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This section contains 2,047 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Nibelungenlied Study Guide
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Nibelungenlied from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.