Wolfram von Eschenbach: Overview

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Author: G.P. Cubbin
Editor: Lesley Henderson
Date: 1995
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 649 words

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Wolfram is best known for his epic poems, but eight short poems composed by him have also been preserved. These display great lyricism, passion, and control. They are also notable for certain features of striking originality such as his praise of marital love.

His only completed epic is Parzival (25,000 lines), loosely based on a similar epic by Chretien de Troyes. Through very many connected and unconnected episodes the hero progresses from a state of complete innocence and naivety brought about by his secluded infancy to a state of readiness to be Grail King. He is the epitome of the Knight in the service of ladies, humanity, and God.

The Holy Grail is a central feature of this poem, and Wolfram's conception of the Grail bears close similarities in its gnosticism to the Cathar heresy which prevailed in the area of the Pyrenees at the beginning of the 13th century. Wolfram himself tells us that he was supplied with additional material by one...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420010198