Wolfram von Eschenbach

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wolfram von Eschenbach,
author's picture as a knight in the Codex Manesse
Monument in Wolframs-Eschenbach , donated in 1860 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria
Wolfram von Eschenbach,
statue at Abenberg Castle

Wolfram von Eschenbach (* around 1160/80 in Franconia , probably in Obereschenbach ; † around / after 1220) was a German-speaking poet . The Middle High German literature owes him several epic works. He also wrote lyrical poems as a minstrel . His most famous work is the verse novel Parzival .


What we think we know about Wolfram's life is inferred from references in his own poems and from statements by contemporary authors and his work Parzival. From his name it can be deduced that he came from a place called Eschenbach. Geographical allusions in the Parzival suggest that it is Obereschenbach near Ansbach (today Wolframs-Eschenbach ). No noble family is known from this place; he describes himself as " knightly " ( Parzival 115.11 and 337.30). He called himself Baier, which is why his place of origin could have been in what was then the Bavarian Nordgau . Albrecht (poet of the 'Younger Titurel') described him as his friend from Bleyenfelden , presumably today's Pleinfeld , which at that time was in the border area of ​​the northern Gau .

It is known that in his life he served at numerous courts. He was certainly in contact with the Counts of Wertheim and Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia.

Record of Parzival

Wolfram's reference in Parzival: "min herre der grave von Wertheim" is the basis of the assumption that he wrote it in part on behalf of the count. The writing, which was generally accepted between 1200 and 1210, falls into the reign of Count Poppo II from Wertheim from 1212: “It can be assumed that Count Poppo, who [since 1190] in the vicinity of Emperor Heinrich VI. stayed, who is known as a minstrel who was also interested in the courtly poetry of the time. ”It is assumed“ that Wolfram, as Ministerialer of the Counts of Wertheim, had estates in Obereschenbach and Pleinfeld near Ansbach, because Wertheimer owned and sovereign rights to those Places and in the relevant time and also later documented. "

For the Lords of Dürn , who owned the Wildenberg Castle in the Odenwald , mentioned in the 5th book of Parzival , he could have written another part of the Parzival . While he was still working on the Parzival , Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia, an important patron of German literature of his time, appeared as his patron . Remarks about Landgrave Hermann and the Thuringian court are found more often than about other historical persons: the description of problems at the court there in 'Book 6' of Parzival requires personal presence there, together with Walther von der Vogelweide ; 'Book 13' names contacts with the Thuringian court in absentia; Wolfram wrote the Willehalm on behalf of Hermann. He mentions Hermann's death in the Willehalm ; not long afterwards he broke off work on the Willehalm .

Knowledge and education

It is disputed what kind of education tungsten had. He presents himself programmatically as a despiser of the learned book knowledge. A statement in Parzival is often given the meaning that he describes himself as illiterate . This interpretation is not likely; In addition, the statement in question is a criticism of a poet who has not been named, who values ​​his written source too highly (obviously Hartmann von Aue ) and serves to construct a specific author role: the role of the lay poet, whose appreciation is an expression of the growing self-confidence of the court lay society for which Wolfram worked. It is indisputable that he had extensive knowledge of the Latin educational tradition. His work is interspersed with knowledgeable knowledge from all areas (natural history, geography, medicine and astronomy) and with theological reflections. His knowledge of contemporary French language and literature was also extensive .


Today the Parzival is considered Wolfram's most famous work, and it is often classified as the most important epic of this time. It is the first work to have survived in German with the Holy Grail as its motif . Portrayed the story of two heroes : on the one hand Parzival's life from his childhood over time as Arthurian knights to Gralskönigtum other hand Gawain's story that does not exceed the structure of the Arthurian circle. As a research thesis it is often assumed that the Parzival should break up the immanence of courtly society by mapping it to a universal level.

Immediately interpreting and balancing the Parzival – Gawan opposition on the universal level Friedrich von der Leyen :

"According to Wolfram, that is the highest goal of human life, that one earns heaven's favor without turning one's back on the joys of earth."

- F. vd Leyen in the afterword, 1912, in Wilhelm Hertz : Parzival (edition 2002, p. 431 f.)

Wolfram used the work Perceval by Chrétien de Troyes when writing Parzival , his work is (in part) a very free adaptation of Perceval . Chrétien's work, however, remains a fragment ; it breaks off in the Gawan story. For the end of Wolfram's work (the end of the Gawan plot, Parzival's oriental brother and his calling as the Grail King) and also for the beginning (the story of Parzival's parents), no source can be traced, so that Wolfram is generally regarded as the direct author of these parts becomes. Wolfram writes in Parzival, however, that he considers Chrétien's account - which he claims to be familiar with - to be wrong, and claims that he used another source, a Provencal poet named Kyot . However, nothing else is known about Kyot. In the history of reception in the 20th century, the dominant view was that this source and its author did not exist, but that they are a Wolfram fiction.

In addition, there is a tradition that sees in Parzival the reproduction of an orally transmitted history. Herbert Kolb considers Wolfram's informant Kyot to be verifiable. The theory of the Swiss anthroposophist Werner Greub (1909–1997) is wrong, who goes so far in the historicization of Parzival that the most important scenes of the Grail search can be localized, which according to him would have happened in the 9th century.

Other seals:

Wolfram's language differs from the style of Hartmann von Aue . It is pictorial, rich in irony and punch lines, although its syntax appears compressed and bulky. He expands the narrative style developed by his predecessors . Typical of him is the so-called "hooked storytelling" and the technique of hybridization .


Wolfram was the most effective German-speaking poet of the Middle Ages. Wolfram's Titurel fragment had an enormous aftereffect in the late Middle Ages: the stanza form invented for this purpose (the so-called Titurel strophe ) was adapted by many poets. The fragment itself was expanded into a detailed novel by Albrecht in the second half of the 13th century . This younger Titurel was considered Wolfram's own work in the late Middle Ages and established his fame as the most important of all knight poets. The Parzival is the only paired poem that saw several book printing editions after 1470 . The subject of the Parzival provided Richard Wagner with the main source for the creation of the libretto for his opera Parsifal . Wolfram himself appears as a character in Wagner's opera Tannhäuser .

The literary studies of the 19./20. Century dealt very intensively with Wolfram, although at times she nationalistically exaggerated him and tried to play it off against the supposedly " Welsh " Gottfried von Strasbourg .

On July 19, 1917, the town of Obereschenbach was at the instigation of Prelate Johann Baptist Kurz (May 18, 1881-18 February 1968) by decree of King Ludwig III. Renamed by Bavaria in honor of Wolfram von Eschenbach from the family of the Lords of Eschenbach in Wolframs-Eschenbach .

There is a memorial plaque in the Walhalla in Donaustauf .

See also

Codex Manesse and Wolframslinde

The Wolfram-von-Eschenbach-Preis and the Wolfram-von-Eschenbach-Gymnasium in Schwabach are named after him.


  • Wolframs von Eschenbach Parzival and Titurel , edited by Karl Bartsch (= German Classics of the Middle Ages, Volume 19), Leipzig 1935 (only Middle High German text)
  • Karl Lachmann (Ed.): Wolfram von Eschenbach. Berlin 1833; 5th edition, after Moriz Haupt and Karl Müllenhoff obtained from Karl Weinhold , Berlin 1891.
  • Wilhelm Hertz : Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. Revised by W. Hertz. Cheap edition. With an afterword by Friedrich vd Leyen . Stuttgart and Berlin, JG Cotta`sche Buchhandlung Nachhaben, 1904. Numerous other editions: 1911 (afterword by Gustav Rosenhagen ), 1930, 1958, Phaidon-Verlag 1985, Mundus 2002.
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival , Middle High German and New High German, based on the edition by Karl Lachmann, translated by Wolfgang Spiewok, Volumes 1 and 2 (Reclams Universal Library Volumes 3681 and 3682), Stuttgart 1981 ISBN 3-15-003681-X
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival , translated by Wolfgang Mohr , Göppingen 1977/79 ISBN 3-87452-344-6
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival , translated by Dieter Kühn , 1994, ISBN 3-596-13336-X .
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival , translated by Peter Knecht, Reclam, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-15-010708-9 .
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival , transferred by Franz Viktor Spechtler, Wieser, Klagenfurt 2016, ISBN 978-3-99029-082-8 .
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Willehalm. Middle High German / New High German. Based on the critical text by Werner Schröder, translated into New High German, commented on and edited by Horst Brunner. Philipp Reclam jun., Ditzingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-15-019462-1 ( reading sample ).
  • Two Wolfram Minneongs on the net:
    • The Morgenblic bî wahtaeres sange Erkôs (L 3,1)
    • Guot wîp, I beg you minne (L 9,1)

Annotated editions

  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival . Revised and commented on by Eberhard Nellmann after Karl Lachmann's edition. Transferred by Dieter Kühn. Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1994, Library of German Classics, Library of the Middle Ages (original text, retransmission and detailed commentary in 2 volumes)
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Willehalm . Based on manuscript 857 of the St. Gallen Abbey Library, edited by Joachim Heinzle , Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1991, Library of German Classics, Library of the Middle Ages (original text, retransmission and detailed commentary)
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach: Titurel . With the entire parallel tradition of the "Younger Titurel". Critically edited, translated and commented by Joachim Bumke and Joachim Heinzle. Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen, 2006


General, introductions, anthologies, research literature

  • Horst Brunner: Wolfram von Eschenbach (Vol. 2 in the series In the footsteps of poets and thinkers through Franconia ), Gunzenhausen 2004. ISBN 3-924270-39-2
  • Joachim Bumke : Wolfram von Eschenbach (Metzler Collection 36); 8., completely reworked. Edition, Stuttgart 2004. ISBN 3-476-18036-0
  • Karl Bertau : German Literature in the European Middle Ages , Volume 2, Munich 1973.
  • Karl Bertau: Wolfram von Eschenbach , Munich 1983.
  • Karl Bertau: About literary history, courtly epic around 1200 , Munich 1983, pp. 42–116.
  • Ulrike Draesner : Paths through narrated worlds. Intertextual references as a means of constituting meaning in Wolframs Parzival (= Mikrokosmos , Volume 36), Lang, Frankfurt am Main [u. a.] 1993. ISBN 3-631-45525-9 (dissertation University of Munich 1992, 494 pages).
  • Joachim Heinzle (Ed.): Wolfram von Eschenbach. A manual , 2 volumes, Berlin / Boston 2011. ISBN 978-3-11-019053-3 .
  • Joachim Heinzle : Wolfram von Eschenbach. Poet of the knightly world. Life, works, fame. Basel 2019. ISBN 978-3-7965-3955-8
  • Christian Kiening : Wolfram von Eschenbach , article in: Wolf-Hartmut Friedrich and Walter Killy (eds.), History of Literature, Volume 12, pp. 413–419.
  • Henry Kratz: Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival. An Attempt at a total Evaluation , Bern 1973.
  • Wolfgang Mohr: Collected essays. Part 1: Wolfram von Eschenbach (= Göppingen work on German studies; Volume 275), Göppingen 1979. ISBN 3-87452-418-3
  • Wolfram studies , publications by the Wolfram von Eschenbach Society, Berlin 1970–2006.
  • Hermann Reichert : Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival, for beginners , Vienna 2002, 3rd, completely revised edition, Vienna, Praesens Verlag 2017. ISBN 978-3-7069-0915-0
  • Hermann Reichert: Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival. Volume 1: Text. 520 pages, Vienna, Praesens Verlag 2019. ISBN 978-3-7069-1016-3 . E-book (pdf): ISBN 978-3-7069-3008-6 .
  • Hermann Reichert: Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival. Volume 2: Investigations. Studies on the textual criticism of Parzival and the language of Wolfram. 397 pages, Vienna, Praesens Verlag 2019. ISBN 978-3-7069-1017-0 . E-book (pdf): ISBN 978-3-7069-3009-3 .
  • Kurt Ruh : Courtly Epic of the German Middle Ages , Part 2, Munich 1980.
  • Heinz Rupp (Ed.): Wolfram von Eschenbach , Darmstadt 1966.
  • Werner Schröder : Wolfram von Eschenbach. Traces and works. Effects , 2 volumes, Stuttgart 1989f.


  • Albert Schreiber: New building blocks for a life story of Wolfram von Eschenbach. Frankfurt am Main 1922.
  • Uwe Meves: The Lords of Durne . In: Friedrich Oswald and Wilhelm Störmer (eds.): The Amorbach Abbey in the Odenwald. Sigmaringen 1984, pp. 113-143.
  • Hugo Steger : Abenberc and Wildenberc. In: Journal for German Philology. Volume 105, 1986, pp. 1-41.
  • Horst Brunner: Wolfram von Eschenbach. On the trail of poets and thinkers through Franconia. Gunzenhausen 2004.
  • Herbert Kolb: Munsalvaesche: Studies on the Kyotproblem. Eidosverlag, Munich 1963.
  • Werner Greub: Wolfram von Eschenbach and the reality of the Grail. Philosophical-anthroposophical publishing house, Dornach 1974.

Reception history

  • Erich Kleinschmidt : Literary Reception and History. On the history of the impact of Wolframs ›Willehalm‹ . In: German quarterly journal . Volume 48, 1974, pp. 585-649.
  • Hedda Ragotzky: Studies on Wolfram Reception . Stuttgart et al. 1971.
  • Bernd Schirok: Parzival reception in the Middle Ages . Darmstadt 1982.
  • Bernhard Dietrich Haage: Science and educational theory reminiscences of north French schools with Gottfried von Strasbourg and Wolfram von Eschenbach. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 8, 1990, pp. 91-135.

Web links

Wikisource: Wolfram von Eschenbach  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Wolfram von Eschenbach  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ On the problem of Wir Beier Hermann Reichert: Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival. Volume 2: Investigations. Pp. 95-97.
  2. Gottfried Mertens: Market Pleinfeld. A look into the past. Eichstätt 1984. p. 37.
  3. ^ Hermann Ehmer: History of the Grafschaft Wertheim , Verlag E. Buchheim, Wertheim 1989, p. 36. ISBN 3-924611-11-4 .
  4. Parzival 297, 16ff .; 639.12; Willehalm 3,8f .; 417, 22ff.
  5. See also Herbert Grundmann : Did Wolfram von Eschenbach write poetry at his desk? In: Archives for cultural history. Volume 49, 1967, pp. 391-405.
  6. ^ Paul Kunitzsch : The oriental country names in Wolfram (Wh. 74,3ff.). In: Werner Schröder (Ed.): Wolfram-Studien, II. Berlin 1974, pp. 152-173.
  7. ^ Bernard D. Haage: Wolfram von Eschenbach. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1503.
  8. ^ Bernhard D. Haage: Surgery after Abū l-Qāsim in the 'Parzival' Wolframs von Eschenbach. In: Clio Medica. Volume 19, 1984, pp. 193-205.
  9. Paul Kunitzsch: The planet names in the 'Parzival'. In: Journal for the German language. Volume 25, 1969, pp. 169-174.
  10. ^ Wilhelm Hertz : Stories of the Middle Ages. Parzival. (Original edition: WH: Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. Cotta Stuttgart, 1930.) Volume 1, Mundus-Verlag, Stuttgart 2002. With the afterword by Friedrich von der Leyen , 1912, p. 431 f.
  11. Honorary Citizen Dr. Dr. Johann Baptist Kurz on the city pages.
  12. www.mediaevum.de .