Wolfram von Eschenbach

Wolfram von Eschenbach

Wolfram von Eschenbach (born c. 1170, died c. 1220) was a German knight and poet, regarded as one of the greatest epic poets of his time. As a Minnesinger, he also wrote lyric poetry.


Little is known of Wolfram's life: there are no historical documents which mention him, and his works are the sole source of evidence. In "Parzival" he talks of "wir Beier" ("we Bavarians") and the dialect of his works is East Franconian. This and a number of geographical references has resulted in the present-day Wolframs-Eschenbach, previously Obereschenbach, near Ansbach in Bavaria, being officially designated as his birthplace. However, the evidence is circumstantial and not without problems - there are at least four other Eschenbachs in present-day Bavaria, and Wolframs-Eschenbach was not part of Bavaria in Wolfram's time.

The arms shown in the Manesse manuscript come from the imagination of a 14th century artist, drawing on the figure of the Red Knight in "Parzival", and have no heraldic connection with Wolfram.

Wolfram's work indicates a number of possible patrons (most reliably Hermann I of Thuringia), which suggests that he served at a number of courts during his life. In his "Parzival" he claims he is illiterate and recorded the work by dictation, though the claim is treated with scepticism by scholars.


Wolfram is best known today for his "Parzival", sometimes regarded as the greatest of all German epics from that time. Based on Chrétien de Troyes' "Perceval, le Conte du Graal", it is the first extant work in German to have as its subject the Holy Grail. In the poem, Wolfram expresses disdain for Chrétien's (unfinished) version of the tale, and states that his source was a poet from Provence called Kyot. Some scholars believe Wolfram might have meant Guiot de Provins (though none of the latter's surviving works relate to the themes of "Parzival"), however others believe Kyot was simply a literary device invented by Wolfram to explain his deviations from Chrétien's version.

Wolfram is the author of two other narrative works: the unfinished "Willehalm" and the fragmentary "Titurel". These were both composed after "Parzival", and "Titurel" mentions the death of the Hermann I, which dates it firmly after 1217. Wolfram's nine surviving songs, five of which are dawn-songs, are regarded as masterpieces of Minnesang.


The 84 surviving manuscripts of "Parzival", both complete and fragmentary, indicate the immense popularity of Wolfram's major work in the following two centuries. "Willehalm", with 78 manuscripts, comes not far behind. Many of these include a continuation written in the 1240s by Ulrich von Türheim under the title "Rennewart". The unfinished "Titurel" was taken up and expanded around 1272 by a poet named Albrecht, who is generally presumed to be Albrecht von Scharfenberg and who adopts the narrative persona of Wolfram. This work is referred to as the "Jüngere Titurel" ("Younger Titurel").

The modern rediscovery of Wolfram begins with the publication of a translation of "Parzival" in 1753 by the Swiss scholar Johann Jakob Bodmer. "Parzival" was the main source Richard Wagner used when writing the libretto to his opera, "Parsifal". Wolfram himself appears as a character in another Wagner opera, "Tannhäuser".

In Hugo Pratt's comic book The Secret Rose, Corto Maltese speaks to a mural painting of Wolfram. In this book Corto is searching for the Holy Grail.


*James F. Poag, "Wolfram Von Eschenbach" (Twayne's World Authors Series) Twayne Publishers 1972. ISBN 0-8290-1750-X
*Otto Springer. "Wolfram's "Parzival" in "Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages", Roger S. Loomis (ed.). Clarendon Press: Oxford University. 1959. ISBN 0-19-811588-1
*Wolfram von Eschenbach, "Parzival with Titurel and The Love-lyrics", trans. Cyril Edwards. Boydell Press, 2004. ISBN 1-84384-005-7. The evidence for Wolfram's life is treated extensively in the Introduction.

External links

* [http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4784 Wolfram von Eschenbach in the Literary Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.fh-augsburg.de/~harsch/germanica/Chronologie/13Jh/Wolfram/wol_intr.html Works] (Middle High German)
* [http://cgi-host.uni-marburg.de/~mrep/liste_inhalt.php?id=437 List of "Parzival" manuscripts] (Marburger Repertorium)
* [http://cgi-host.uni-marburg.de/~mrep/liste_inhalt.php?id=440 List of "Willhalm" manuscripts] (Marburger Repertorium)
* [http://www.rcs-krueger.de/Eschenbach.htm Two of Wolfram's songs] (Middle High German)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — Wolfram von Eschenbach; Autorbild als Ritter im Codex Manesse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wolfram Von Eschenbach — Wolfram von Eschenbach (né autour de 1170 dans le village de Eschenbach en Bavière mort autour de 1220) était un chevalier et un poète allemand du Moyen Âge. Il est considéré comme l un des plus grands poètes épiques de son temps. Comme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wolfram von eschenbach — Wolfram von Eschenbach (né autour de 1170 dans le village de Eschenbach en Bavière mort autour de 1220) était un chevalier et un poète allemand du Moyen Âge. Il est considéré comme l un des plus grands poètes épiques de son temps. Comme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — • Middle High German epic poet (d. 1216) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Wolfram von Eschenbach     Wolfram von Eschenbach      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — Wolfram von Ẹschenbach,   mittelhochdeutscher Dichter, * um 1170/80, ✝ um 1220; neben Gottfried von Strassburg und Hartmann von Aue der bedeutendste Vertreter der mittelhochdeutschen höfischen Epik. Obwohl Wolfram in seinem Werk eine Vielzahl… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — Wolfram von Eschenbach, neben Gottfried von Straßburg und Walther von der Vogelweide der bedeutendste deutsche Dichter des Mittelalters, wurde in der zweiten Hälfte des 12. Jahrh. aus dem altadligen Geschlecht, das von dem fränkischen Städtchen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — Wolfram von Eschenbach, s. Eschenbach 1) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — Wolfram von Eschenbach, s. Eschenbach …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — (v. 1170 v. 1220) poète allemand; auteur d épopées courtoises en vers: Parzival (dont Wagner s inspira: Parsifal ), Willehalm et Titurel …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach — [vō̂l′främ fō̂n esh′ən bäkh΄] 1170? 1220?; Ger. epic poet …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.