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The Nibelungenlied

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,319 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Written by an unknown author in the twelfth century, this powerful tale of murder and revenge reaches back to the earliest epochs of German antiquity, transforming centuries-old legend into a masterpiece of chivalric drama. Siegfried, a great prince of the Netherlands, wins the hand of the beautiful princess Kriemhild of Burgundy, by aiding her brother Gunther in his strug ...more
Paperback, 404 pages
Published August 26th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1200)
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Ronald Morton
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How bad*** do you want your epics to be?

Do you want someone to hit someone else so hard that the plains shake and gouts of red fire shoot from the impact? How about someone throwing a boulder 20 fathoms and then leaping just as far?

And, if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?

This book/epic/lay is amazingly over the top, and at the same time is one of the greatest examples of medieval literature that has not been lost to antiquity. Any one who has read and enjoyed Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Aelfric’
David Sarkies
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Massacre upon Massacre
3 August 2016 - Dusseldorf

Well, maybe it isn't the case that the entire book is about people being slaughtered, but when you reach the end it certainly feels like it, with the last quarter of the story involving a huge revenge slaughter in the Hungarian king's home. In fact it appears as if, with the exception of a couple of people, nobody actually comes out of this story on top – and the thing is that other than being a bit of a pompous git, Siegfried didn't do anything w
Because we all need some kick-ass medieval literature in our lives.
Adonis Devereux
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2010 added it
Shelves: 2010, 12th-century-ad
As with Shakespeare's Pericles, I have a great deal of affection for the Nibelungenlied on account of the conflict in its structure. The poet (lost now) has had to wrangle together two conflicting folk traditions into a single story. His or her achievement here is subtle and remarkable.

Northrop Frye says that a central trait of epic is a change of mode and subject halfway through the poem. The Odyssey, the Aeneid and Paradise Lost all switch tack in the middle: Odysseus' and Aeneas' romantic wan
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval
Das Nibelungenlied ist es auf jeden Fall wert gelesen zu werden, vor allem, wenn man die Bestandteile auf das, was sie sind herunterbricht. (Aus heutiger Sicht wirkte es auf mich an manchen Punkten wie Comedy.)

Wer mitspielt:
Siegfried: Superstar und Königssohn aus Xanten, der so wunderwunderwunderschön ist, das es niemand glauben kann. Und natürlich auch super stark.
Ute: Muddi von den Burgunden
Gunther: Ihr Sohn, der auch schön ist aber nur wunderwunderschön.
Gernot: Sohn Nr. 2
Gieselher: Sohn N
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
As is probably true of many if not most readers of this work, I explored it primarily because of my interest in and enjoyment of Richard Wagner’s great four-opera work, Der Ring des Nibelungen. I wished to read what was clearly part of his source material for the libretto and plot he created, and I wanted to see how closely the one work corresponded with the other.

Written in Middle High German around 1200 CE, the legends comprising the written work reach back much farther into the past. Its them
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval, universidad
Relectura agosto 2016

Tengo tantos motivos para amar este libro como para odiarlo, así que seré breve. Cantar de los Nibelungos sigue la historia de un linaje (el de la corte de Worms, situada en Burgundia) a partir de la entrada de Sigfrido en él y hasta el final del mismo. Son unos cuantos años de tragedias, malentendidos, traiciones, rencores y, por supuesto, varios olvidos y/o equívocos del compositor.

¿Lo bueno? Presenta unos cuantos personajes interesantes (los femeninos, sobre todo) qu
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
I love this book so much, the characters and storyline are so absorbing. The blend and variation of French courtly romance and Germanic heroic ethic causes tension throughout the poem, with characters such as Siegfried, Hagen, Brunhild and Hildebrand representing the older heroic ethic and characters such as Gunther, Dietrich, Etzel and Ruedegar representing a new courtly ethic. kriemhild's transformation from courtly princess to heroic villain is also intriguing. Variation is also noticeable in ...more
The Middle High German Nibelungenlied is thought to date from around 1180 to 1210 and is preserved in 35 known manuscripts. The poem probably originates from the Austrian Danube region. The poet, after much scholarly work, still remains a mystery, with theories on the poet's identity ranging from a Meister Konrad to the famous Walther von der Vogelweide.

The poem seems to have been popular during the Middle Ages with the vast amount of manuscripts in existence and the story seems to have remained
Oscar Gonzalez
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sepan-cuantos
Si tuviera que decir, con la menor cantidad de palabras posible, cual es el tema del libro, diría que se trata de La Lealtad. La lealtad en todas sus formas y en todas sus motivaciones. Siegfried es leal a Gunther para poder casarse con Kriemhild; la soberbia ilimitada de Hagen se deriva de su lealtad a Brunhild, su Señora. Al principio, Rüdiger se niega a combatir a los Burgundios, quienes son sus huéspedes, y se siente obligado a respetarlos, pero termina atacándolos por lealtad a Etzel (Atila ...more
Bryn Hammond
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-and-romance
May I defend the Nibelungenlied against charges of misogyny?

Brunhild warns her suitors: “He will have to cast the weight, follow through with a leap, and then throw the javelin with me. Do not be too hasty – you may well lose your lives and your reputations here,” said the charming woman. “Consider it very closely.” And Hatto footnotes, There is always a touch of burlesque when Brunhild goes into action. I like you, A.T. Hatto; you translated a steppe epic, bless you; but why is this burlesque?
Ajeje Brazov
"La canzone dei Nibelunghi" o semplicemente "I Nibelunghi", narra delle gesta di Siegfried, eroe della mitologia norrena e di sua moglie Crimilde sorella del Re di Burgundia, Gunther.
La mitologia norrena mi ha sempre affascinato, ma qui ho letto quasi solo di intrighi di palazzo, di vendette, di onore, di belle fanciulle/donzelle che si agghindano con belle vesti per presenziare all'arrivo di qualche nobile cavaliere (non so quante volte l'avrò letto, a dir poco estenuante!) ecc... e poco o, pra
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Seigfried is my favorite mythical hero. He's kinda like a German Achilles without the 20+ chapters of pouting. He is a fierce warrior but also childlike and innocent in many ways. I just wanted the guy to win, and that's what he does for half the book. Then some cat-fight between his wife and his brother-in-law's wife escalates into his murder.

Then for the second half of the book, his widow plots revenge by marrying Attila the Hun and inviting her whole family to their last celebration. I was li
Czarny Pies
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Northern European Mythology
Recommended to Czarny by: Richard Wagner
Shelves: mythology, german-lit
I saw the four operas of Wagner's Ring Cycle over twenty years finishing in 1983. Since that time I have been meaning to read the source story and finally had the strange impulse to do so last Friday.

I chose to read French prose version from the 20th century rather than the epic poem composed in Medieval German in the 13th century. This meant essentially that I missed most of the work's literary value but probably succeeded in my effort to gain marginal insight into Wagner's creative process.

Sergei Ter-Tumasov
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've read the story of Siegfried and Brunhild elsewhere, in the Norse versions/origin, the Eddas and the Saga of the Volsungs, but it was good to read this expanded edition. It's well translated by Hatto, who also translated my copy of von Strassburg's Tristan, and whose work I can recommend, at least insofar as it's readable and accessible, but keeps an "archaic" sort of flavour -- I can't say if it really keeps the voice of the narrator, of course. What I mean is, it doesn't modernise it so th ...more
Bianca Dorcu
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nibelungii sunt o operă a întregii rase germane" - Goethe
With what a truly savage din did all those swords ring out as shield-braces flew from their housing with the gems dropping smashed into the blood! They fought with such ferocity that men will never fight so again.
The Nibelungenlied is an epic poem written around 1200 by an anonymous writer. This Penguin edition, translated into English prose by A.T. Hatto, was first published in 1965. It is an epic tale of murder and revenge that ends in one almighty bloodbath—which has hopefully piqued your int
Stuart Macalpine
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Song of the Nibelungen makes the average Hollywood action movie look like Telly Tubbies. When Kriemhilde is trying to burn the hall that Hagen is holed up in with 600 troops, he easily puts out the fire brands she throws in... by submerging the flames in the knee high blood from the thousands he has just slaughtered in there... whose blood he later drinks when they are starved of water and needs refreshment between battles... But there is more to it than that, particularly in the first half. ...more
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Sterne für diese doch recht gelungene Ausgabe.

Der Anhang ist vom Inhalt her sehr reichlich bestückt, und auch die OPtik des Nibelungenlieds selbst ist gut auf das Mittelhochdeutsch/Neuhochdeutche abgestimmt.
Allein bei der Übersetzung musste ich ein paar Mal die Stirn runzeln, da diese an einigen Stellen doch sehr amüsant klang.

Tonino Mangano
Le trasposizioni cinematografiche e gli adattamenti operistici e musicali sono stati innumerevoli nel tributare onore a quest’opera di autore anonimo.
Il Medioevo è sempre stato considerato un periodo buio, dominato dall’ignoranza e dalla superstizione. In parte potrebbe essere anche vero, sebbene gli storici ancora dibattano al riguardo, ma non si può assolutamente negare la ricchezza di esperienze letterarie e artistiche che hanno animato e fatto risplendere il Medioevo nell’immaginario romanti
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alemana
Cuando pienso en el texto medieval favorito (europeo, al Cid no lo baja nadie) me viene a la mente este cantar épico. Cruel y bello al mismo tiempo, no puedo dejar de lado la complejidad de su elaboración, en la que destacan no sólo las normas corteses sino también las intrínsecas del pueblo germano. Una gran obra.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Newfound respect for fiddlers.

But yeah -- the moral landscape of this world is as foreign terrain as any I've walked.
Elizabeth Silva
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The first-time reader of the Nibelunglied may need to set certain expectations aside, assuming that s/he has any. The title immediately calls to mind Wagner’s operas, and this in turn causes some to think about Nazi Germany. In fact Wagner’s operas play fast and loose with the original stories, and there is very little of the Nibelunglied in Wagner.

We would also be struggling to find much to support Fascism here either. Certainly the story concerns ancient warrior heroes, but there is no suggest
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"Following this his stalwarts were furnished with clothes lines with vari-colored squirrel."

"I shall not keep this momentous news from whatever trusty followers I may have; rather shall I complain of it to my friends."

"They alone die that are doomed."

"Their battered shields were taken away to store, and orders were given for the bloodstained saddles (of which there were so many) to be hidden away lest the ladies me moved to tears."

"I heartily regret our visit to this court."

"A soldier of fortune
Mark Adderley
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is an intriguing read, but not necessarily a very pleasant one. I read it to complement my reading of The Song of Roland, and intend to read The Poem of the Cid afterwards.

The Nibelungenlied is on the list of Great Books of the Western World, but I don't quite see why. The characterization is wildly inconsistent. Kriemhild, for example, is portrayed as a virtuous woman for the first half of the tale, but then as an evil schemer for the second half. Hagen of Troneg as an evil schemer for the
While largely less exciting than the Scandinavian version (Volsunga saga), and often bogged down in lengthy, trivial and uninteresting descriptions such as the kinds of dresses that girls are wearing as they bustle about, The Nibelungenlied none the less is a uniquely introspective work of courtly literature that takes a more self-conscious look at High Medieval social expectations than even such monumental contemporary authors as Chrétien de Troyes. The Nibelungenlied manages to entangle countl ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Nibelungenlied by Anonymous 1 11 Mar 13, 2015 12:13AM  
  • The Saga of the Volsungs
  • Tristan: With the Tristran of Thomas
  • The Kalevala
  • Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas
  • Parzival
  • The Prose Edda
  • The Sagas of Icelanders
  • Erec
  • Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen
  • Orlando Furioso
  • Early Irish Myths and Sagas
  • The Ring of the Nibelung
  • Arthurian Romances
  • The Lais of Marie de France
  • Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte
  • The Romance of the Rose
Books can be attributed to "Unknown" when the author or editor (as applicable) is not known and cannot be discovered. If at all possible, list at least one actual author or editor for a book instead of using "Unknown".

Books whose authorship is purposefully withheld should be attributed instead to Anonymous.
“Then, as Siegfried bent over the brook and drank, Hagen hurled the spear at the cross, so that the hero's heart's blood leapt from the wound and splashed against Hagen's clothes. No warrior will ever do a darker deed. Leaving the spear fixed in Siegfried's heart, he fled in wild desperation, as he had never fled before from any man.” 0 likes
“The lady Kriemhild's lord fell among the flowers, where you could see the blood surging from his wound. Then—and he had cause—he rebuked those who had plotted his foul murder. 'You vile cowards,' he said as he lay dying. 'What good has my service done me now that you have slain me? I was always loyal to you, but now I have paid for it. Alas, you have wronged your kinsmen so that all who are born in days to come will be dishonoured by your deed. You have cooled your anger on me beyond all measure. You will be held in contempt and stand apart from all good warriors.'   ” 0 likes
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