Jan-Dirk Müller. Rules for the Endgame: The World of the "Nibelungenlied". Translated by William Whobrey. Parallax: Revisions of Culture and Society. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. xviii + 562 pp. $70.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8018-8702-4.
Reviewed by Shami Ghosh (School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester)
Published on H-German (February, 2010)
Commissioned by Susan R. Boettcher
The World of the Nibelungs Revisited
Most readers of the title of this review might assume the book reviewed treats Richard Wagner, a fact that might be a good commentary on the importance of Jan-Dirk Müller's monograph, but which raises important questions as well about its intended audience. The book was originally published in 1998 in German, and is certainly one of the most important monographs on the Middle High German Nibelungenlied (ca. 1190-1204)--one of the sources for Wagner's Ring cycle (1848-74), and of numerous other moments in the history of German culture and politics until the middle of the last century. The book is also an extremely dense work that presumes more than a passing familiarity with the text, and even, to some extent, with the history of Nibelungenlied scholarship. I first read the German original many years ago, and reading it again in English, I remain convinced of its great value for those interested in the Nibelungenlied, but it is unclear to me for whom the English translation is intended, beyond the few students who work hard at the text but read it only in English. Readers of this review already familiar with Müller's text and the related scholarly controversies must therefore excuse the fact that I turn first to an overview of its subject matter, which might never have been bedtime reading for many subscribers to this list, though it has been for generations of medieval Germanists. Unfamiliarity with the subject notwithstanding, I do believe this book is worth the effort, not only of reading it, but also of familiarizing oneself with the Nibelungenlied; this is literary scholarship of a very high order indeed, and Müller's methods of reading a text can, I believe, be very illuminating to scholars in other areas beyond Germanic languages and literatures.
The Nibelungenlied survives in a number of manuscripts, of which the earliest dates to the mid-thirteenth century, and the manuscript survivals and references in other texts make clear that it was one of the most popular works of Middle High German literature in the medieval period. It has retained this popularity. In the nineteenth century, Friedrich Hebbel used it as the base of his dramatic trilogy, Die Nibelungen (1862), and Wagner (most famously) mined it as a source for the four operas of Der Ring der Nibelungen, though he also used the late-thirteenth-century Old Norse Völsunga saga, which contains much similar material (a point to which I shall return below), and, of course, his own very fertile (some might say febrile) imagination. Both Wagner's and Hebbel's reworkings of the text remained influential until the end of the National Socialist period. While Hebbel is largely forgotten outside of Germany, it is probably in the form presented by Wagner that the story is known to most people today. The Nibelungenlied has also been filmed a number of times, and has inspired modern literary adaptations and paintings. The medieval text, though, has had a special life of its own in Germany. It was taught in schools until recently and served as a source for various national myths, including an appeal to the so-called Nibelungentreue (Nibelung loyalty) in both the 1914-18 war and during the Nazi period. This reference draws on the refusal of the Nibelungs to stop fighting even when defeat was certain. By their persistence they brought about not only their own deaths but, as Müller argues cogently, the destruction of the whole world depicted in the epic. The text has retained an important role in the study of medieval German literature (though it is probably now less frequently read in medievalist settings than some other works of the German Middle Ages). In this scholarship, it has continued to have a controversial history.
Not a small part of this controversy has been generated by its medieval prehistory. The story told is, in its barest outlines, simple enough. At the court of the Burgundian kings (of whom the eldest is Gunther) a warrior called Siegfried arrives, claiming for himself the land and the kings' sister, Kriemhild. By a process of diplomacy, the Burgundians bring Siegfried to agree to help Gunther win the queen of Isenstein, Brunhild, in marriage; in return Siegfried is married to Kriemhild. The marriage to Brunhild is brought about by deception, since she must be convinced that Gunther has the special powers needed to conquer her (in and out of bed), although only Siegfried has this ability. When the deception is uncovered, Brunhild is quite understandably shocked, and appeased only by the killing of Siegfried. Kriemhild laments for many years; her misery is compounded by the fact that the Nibelung hoard, over which she has disposal as the widow of Siegfried, is also stolen from her by Hagen, chief advisor to the Burgundian kings. She is finally married off to the Hunnish king Etzel, a marriage she agrees to in large part because she believes his vast power will help her attain revenge. But when she invites her brothers to visit (they are now confusingly called Nibelungs rather than Burgundians), hostilities start well before they arrive at Etzel's court, and the Burgundians/Nibelungs prove such valiant warriors that they are only killed at the cost of what appears to be all the best fighters in Hun-land, and many more besides. Only Gunther and Hagen remain alive on the Burgundian side. When Kriemhild demands the treasure from Hagen, he says he has sworn an oath never to reveal its whereabouts as long as any of the kings are alive. Kriemhild brings him Gunther's head; he laughs in her face and says now she will never get the treasure. She slaughters him. Shocked by her unwomanly act as well as by all the carnage she has wrought, one of the few remaining warriors slices her in half.
This is heady stuff. Sex and violence always sells, and it did in the Middle Ages, too--a circumstance that complicates our understanding of the text significantly. This story was told many times in the Middle Ages, not just in Middle High German, but also in Old Norse. Somewhere at its core lies, arguably, a legend built up around the following facts: a group of Burgundians ruled by one Gundaharius (Gunther?) was defeated by Huns in the 430s. In the early sixth century, Burgundian kings issued laws in which they commemorated this Gundaharius, as well as a brother called Gislaharius, who is thought to correspond nicely to the Giselher of the Nibelungenlied. Furthermore, in the middle of the fifth century, a battle is recorded in which Burgundians and Huns led by Attila (and other peoples besides) did fight; scholars postulate that this battle has been confused with the earlier one, and that the Etzel of the Nibelungenlied and the Atli of the Norse traditions corresponds to Attila. Later medieval narratives--note that not one survives in any manuscript from before the thirteenth century--are thus assumed to be written recordings of oral legends based on a historical core that told of an epic conflict between a Germanic and a non-Germanic group. It has been argued that these oral tales were preserved among various speakers of Germanic tongues as a part of some sort of common commemoration of some kind of Ur-Germanentum, an ancient Germanic-ness. The appeal of such a notion in the nationalist ideologies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is obvious, especially when one considers also that this ancient Germanic culture was held up as a sort of native German(ic) counterpoint to Greek and Latin antiquity.
Everything about these assumptions is problematic. I have argued that it is impossible to use any extant texts to get to any kind of real history, and equally impossible to use contemporary (that is, fifth- and sixth-century) material to understand the thirteenth-century texts. Many scholars, especially historians, would agree; many others, especially scholars of literature, do not. A venerable tradition in the scholarship tries to interpret the sum of all the narratives, or at the very least, to use Norse works to elucidate the German, and vice versa. The stories in the thirteenth-century Old Norse poetic cycle known as the Edda and in the Völsunga saga and other works differ in many details, often important ones, from the Nibelungenlied. The latter is itself often contradictory, and arguably depends on the audience's knowledge of a tradition about the material to be understood fully. Attempts have therefore been made to explain the text by recourse to alternative narratives, and many scholars believe that it is not possible to explicate the Nibelungenlied without analyzing the other extant works (or at least some of them) containing the same material as well. One controversial aspect of Müller's book is the clean break he makes with this tradition, reading the text without recourse to the other narratives. He justifies this choice, correctly in my view, by pointing out that we do not know exactly what other tradition the poet's audiences would have known, and that this work is perhaps not a "logical" or "coherent" narrative, but a commentary on the particular world it embodies. Thus Müller focuses not on providing a linear reading of the text, seeking narrative coherence and explaining plot structure; rather, he tries, inspired by Clifford Geertz, to provide a "thick description" of the world presented by the epic. He thus considers rules of social interaction, meanings of spaces, and words and symbols in what he calls "Nibelungian anthropology"--the title of one of the most interesting chapters of this book, which could also be applied to Müller's whole project. This lack of linearity poses some problems to the reader, but also means that the book can usefully be read in bits and pieces or mined for insights on particular themes, which might be especially useful for scholars attempting a comparative study of, for example, the meaning of space, or the politics of emotions, in medieval literature.
The introduction sets out the theoretical guidelines with which Müller approaches this text, including a justification for the virtual exclusion of cognate narratives, and a brief overview of the history of the scholarship. His discussion of the written work's relation to oral forebears is largely derivative of earlier scholarship, but he justifies well enough his decision to approach this text as a text without constant speculation about its oral background. The approach--and the title--of this book was inspired partly by the work of historian Gerd Althoff, who has written extensively on the "rules" governing communicative acts and the meaning of various symbols in medieval German politics. Althoff was in turn inspired not only by modern anthropological theory, but also by a growing body of historical scholarship that looks at the meaning of, among other things, reported emotion, gesture, and social behavior in medieval politics. Althoff uses narratives like chronicles to approach the historical realities of medieval political communication; Müller uses the Nibelungenlied to find the "rules" by which life is (or, as so often in this text, is not) lived within a literary world. He makes no claims about any sort of extra-literary validity: the Nibelungenlied might well reflect certain codes of political behavior, but it would be unwise to try and find "history" in this text. Instead, he seeks to recreate the imaginary world of this text, the rules of which correspond in many ways to what historians find in other types of material and what is presented in other literary texts, though these rules are, in Müller's reading, constantly subverted and undermined right up to their final annihilation at the end of the Nibelungenlied.
The first chapter of the book addresses the thorny problem of variations of the narrative within the manuscript tradition of the Nibelungenlied itself; the problems are complex, familiar to scholars of the Nibelungenlied, and of relatively little interest to others. The manuscript tradition shows clearly that medieval readers and scribes altered the text--whether and to what extent they were influenced by oral variants is a matter best left aside--and the traces of their changes reveal that some of them at least were as disturbed by the problematic nature of the text as modern scholars. Furthermore, most manuscripts append to the Nibelungenlied another work, the Nibelungenklage, which is almost universally reviled today. It tries to harmonize all that has happened in the Nibelungenlied and close off gaps, provide some sense of order, and generally make things rather more boring than they are in the epic itself--but it is again evidence of a contemporary concern with the breaks in the work. Müller's interpretation is based primarily on manuscript B and its relatives, what he calls the "vulgate" version, which used to be considered the most interesting redaction precisely because of its complexities; he does, however, frequently refer to other redactions (principally C), as well as to reflexes of the narrative in the Klage and other Middle High German epics. Chapter 2 looks at the salient characteristics of the narrative style of this epic, many of which Müller derives from its combination of a literary narrative with aspects of an "oral" style. This conglomerate allows the poet to introduce contradictory matter by placing, for example, a narrative about Siegfried's early life in the mouth of Hagen as an oral report. The information thus gains the status of "heroic" knowledge, lacking clear temporal or spatial definition and bearing timeless and almost universal qualities. The narrator here therefore creates a "simulated orality" and plays with the differing expectations and conventions of oral and written narratives. Müller's remarks in both chapters are interesting, useful, and familiar to scholars working on medieval epic and on orality; the real meat of this book appears in the following seven chapters of close readings, in which Müller provides what turns out to be a very thick description indeed of the world of the Nibelungs.
Chapter 3, entitled "Nibelungian Society," examines the various social bonds depicted in the work (a minor quibble here concerns a problem encountered by all scholars dealing with certain German concepts: the English word "society," in its modern connotations at least, does not fully convey the German "Gesellschaft"). Müller separates these into horizontal bonds, primarily those between what are called vriunt in the text; this can be roughly translated as "friend," though one should remember that the Middle High German word also means "relative" and, in the context of relations between the sexes, "lover"; and the vertical bonds between various grades of aristocratic dependence. As Müller points out, "among vriunden, special emphasis is given to mâgen, relatives, but the delineation of the two types remains somewhat unclear" (p. 131). The various types of bonds are characterized by the virtue known as triuwe, which corresponds to modern German "Treue" and is hard to translate into any modern English concept; it indicates the quality of being "true" to someone. As Müller carefully shows, the various bonds are depicted as tying people together in competing ways, and the competing demands of triuwe to one's lord and to one's mâgen and vriunt tear apart this society, most famously in the case of the Margrave Rüdiger, who must decide between his duty to his lord and lady, Kriemhild and Etzel, and to his former guests and, because of the engagement of one of them to his daughter, prospective mâgen, the Burgundians/Nibelungs. The following chapter ("Nibelungian Anthropology") expands on these themes by showing the kinds of affective acts used to play on the strings of triuwe and make the wheels of this society work. Like many historians, Müller argues against a "psychologizing" reading of emotions and actions depicted in medieval texts, and following the lead of scholars like Althoff, shows very effectively how such emotions as anger (zorn) and grief (trûren) and emotive acts like weeping, are in fact political symbols and would have been understood as such by their medieval audiences; and, more importantly, that they are understood thus by the actors in the Nibelungenlied. Furthermore, such performed emotions, when visible in the body of the ruler, also indicate the health of the body politic; thus when the queen cries, so do all her maids, and the court begins to mourn. This is not intended to indicate literally that tears flow through the halls, but rather shows the position of the ruler at the head of this society, determining its health. When Brunhild grieves, her court is forced into mourning, and Hagen's deeds are thus justifiable as a means of rectifying the social malaise caused by the queen's grief.
The next chapters deal respectively with sight, visibility, and appearance (chapter 5); and the use and meaning of space (chapter 6). The visibility of these performances is key. How things are seen depends not least on the management of space. Müller shows how the poet has carefully plotted lines of sight, light and dark, and who can see and who can be seen, thus creating varied situations that reveal the importance of managing signs in maintaining the order of this imaginary world. Things that are seen have meaning, but can be misleading, as when Kriemhild produces Brunhild's ring and girdle, which Siegfried had stolen when, under his cloak of invisibility, he had subdued her on Gunther's behalf. No intercourse actually followed, but Kriemhild takes these as symbols of Brunhild's past concubinage to Siegfried, and her public display of them symbolizes this shame of the queen to the world. Although the signs mislead here, their very display in public indicates that Brunhild's shame cannot be hidden; the signs are not easy to counteract. This particular example has been much discussed and Müller's reading does not contribute anything especially new; but his discussion of "the politics of viewing" and "the confusion of gazes" (pp. 242-252) is one of the many examples of Müller at his best, looking carefully at brief passages to show how the line of sight between viewer and viewed is manipulated in the narrative to symbolize differing and changing relative status.
While chapters 3 to 6 comment often on how the depicted world fails to function properly, they are chiefly devoted to showing the rules by which this society is supposed to work. Much of their content is familiar in the context of historical scholarship on medieval political communication, gesture, and the burgeoning studies of the uses of space. They are unmatched, to my knowledge, by any other study of the Nibelungenlied, or indeed another Middle High German text, in the detail and precision with which they apply theories drawn from historical scholarship to elucidating the world of a literary text. But ultimately, the rules are no use; the world of the Nibelungs collapses. Chapters 7 to 9 chart the course of this collapse, focusing respectively on "Disrupted Rules of Interaction," "Failure of the Courtly Alternative," and the deconstruction, within the text itself, of the world so carefully constructed in this epic. The rules rarely function as they should, and are often used to subvert exactly the order they are intended to maintain; this tendency increases as we move further into the text. As Müller shows in chapter 7, the prime virtues of courtly society--generosity, honor, truth as embodied in oaths, and even religious ritual--all end up as hollow in the Nibelungian world; they are manipulated for unholy ends by the players, and the few, like Rüdiger, who remain true to the spirit of these values, find that these virtues cannot preserve either life or social order, though they may bring honorable commemoration in death. Especially in the second part of the epic, many ritual actions are perverted from benign to (often ironically) hostile displays of intent that lead to actual violence. Because of this inexorable move towards the perversion of courtly values, the apparently functioning quasi-chivalric world that we see in the first part of the Nibelungenlied, which seems to share much with the Arthurian romances of Hartmann von Aue and the world of courtly love, is exposed as completely superficial, concealing darker, dangerous tendencies that erupt with the bloodbath at the end of the work. This tendency is apparent even in the mutation into something very different of normal rituals of courtly life that symbolize joy and order: sharing a meal, drinking wine, enjoying a celebration (hôchgezît). The final banquet is broken up with slaughter, and the Burgundians literally drink the blood of their hosts instead of wine. All of this happens ze hove (at court), and thus the space and the celebration, and the very terms used to describe them, familiar in other contexts such as the joyous Arthurian feasts, are turned into the very opposite of what they are supposed to signify.
The book ends with a deconstruction that Müller defines as "a movement of situating and dissolving that only comes to rest when there is nothing left to situate and dissolve" (p. 445). He is able to read what others identify as contradictions as "the result of an impetus of narration that only fixes positions in order to confront them" (p. 445); or rather, one might say, completely dismantle them. This reading makes sense, and seems to me to be a fair way of interpreting a work without appealing either to authorial incompetence or the necessity of a tradition in the background that we cannot really access and assess, as we do not know what version(s) of the work the poet(s) of the extant redactions of the Nibelungenlied might have known. (An earlier generation of scholars circumvented this difficulty by postulating an older text without the inconsistencies present in the extant redactions, the so-called Ältere Nôt, which generations of scholars referred to as though it had really existed, though it was completely a figment of modern scholarship.) Müller would be the first to concede that his is not the only way to read the work; it is, nevertheless, a compelling means of understanding how this text functions, and has a broader value in that it can show us a medieval text working in a deconstructive fashion, subverting, in a sense, commonly held values.
Even so, I cannot help asking, at the end, what exactly the point is. Müller is careful not to claim that this text intends to call into question in a general sense the values and rules that it deconstructs; he does not suggest that this is a critique of courtly culture; of heroic society; of clerical codes of conduct. In his reading, it seems almost to be an exercise in deconstruction for the sake of deconstruction: it makes no real point. Perhaps he is right that precisely because of "the radical nature of this process" the Nibelungenlied is "one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages" (p. 445); certainly his study makes it appear a compellingly skillful work that can and should exert a fascination for readers beyond scholars of Middle High German--a fascination that can very usefully be nourished and stimulated by Müller's work.
At the end, though, for all that Müller's book is extremely insightful and an outstanding and important contribution to medieval literary scholarship, the value of the translation as it has been presented, without any additional matter provided to assist readers unfamiliar with the material, is less clear. It offers little benefit to any reader who has not also read--very carefully--the Nibelungenlied itself, a fact Müller is happy to acknowledge. He writes that his arguments "might prove impenetrable" for the "wider circle of readers" to whom he hopes this book would appeal, and while he concedes that "a short overview of the text would have been helpful so as not to discourage such readers, though it would be superfluous for experts," he decided against including one "because one of the basic tenets of this book is that narration creates meaning, which leads to the conclusion that any retelling, no matter how much it may reject evaluation, gives the story a new meaning, the meaning of the critic. This creates a coherence that still needs to be demonstrated" (p. xiv). Nonetheless, the intended wider circle of readers might still be "discouraged" by a book that reads as though it is intended solely for the very experts for whom an introduction to the material itself would be superfluous. Müller's own words reveal some of this tension, a tension that increases when one considers that they belong to the translation of his original, German preface; the discouragement for non-German readers would only be greater, given that they are less likely to be familiar with the text or the scholarly debates surrounding it!
A further sign of the uncertainty regarding audience is that while many editions and a German translation are listed in the bibliography, no citation, or even reference, is made to any English translation. That, at least, should have been provided for the English-speaking reader, especially since the author acknowledges, and his argumentation demonstrates time and again, that his monograph is very hard to follow without familiarity with the primary text. Müller refers often to parts of the plot that he does not discuss, and his reasoning is so deeply buried within the world of the Nibelungenlied that without making an acquaintance of that world oneself, much of the point of the book seems lost. An excellent English translation (to the extent that any literary translation can be excellent) by A. T. Hatto is still in print in Penguin Classics; it has the added virtue of providing an extensive introduction to the main issues of the text along with extensive notes, which are also, I think, probably essential reading before one attempts to come to terms with Müller's monograph. All passages of the medieval texts cited by Müller are also translated into English (and these translations are all of very high quality, though reflecting the needs of his arguments), but although the book retains a reference from the German version to "an index of cited verses" that will "allow the reader to find commentaries on certain lines more easily" (p. 36), no such index is included here. Admittedly, a reader with no German would hardly be likely to look up parts of this book based on the line numbers of the Middle High German text; it would have been helpful, though, to have printed the index along with cross-references to page numbers of an English translation, both to enable interested readers to see what Müller has to say about particular passages, and to aid them in embedding his argument within the broader context of the text as a whole, even if in translation.
The translation of Müller's words itself is, on the whole, excellent. One should note, though, that the title is not quite accurate. The German title was "Spielregeln für den Untergang," but the German "Untergang" is an unlikely term to be applied to the endgame of a chess match. It is perhaps indeed a rather intricate game of chess that takes place within the Nibelungenlied, but with consequences that are literally deadly, and have been disturbing to centuries of readers, something that comes across in the German title, but perhaps less so in the English.
. A useful overview in English of the modern reception of the Nibelungenlied is given in Werner Hoffmann, "The Reception of the Nibelungenlied in the Twentieth Century," in A Companion to the "Nibelungenlied", ed. Winder McConnell (Columbia: Camden House, 1998), 127-152.
. Rather than giving the names as they appear in manuscript form or normalized Middle High German, I have provided standard modern English or German equivalents where possible.
. "On the Origins of Germanic Heroic Poetry: A Case Study of the Legend of the Burgundians," Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 129 (2007): 220-252. An influential opposing view has been put forward by Joachim Heinzle in numerous publications; see, for example, "Die Nibelungensage als europäische Heldensage," in Die Nibelungen: Sage--Epos--Mythos, ed. Joachim Heinzle, Klaus Klein, and Ute Obhof (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2003), 3-28.
. Nevertheless, although Müller's text-immanent reading is certainly very illuminating, comparative analyses of the broader tradition can also be enlightening, though perhaps less with regard to the way the Nibelungenlied itself works than as a means of assessing the ways in which the tradition might have been diffused through northern Europe, and what functions it might have had. For an analysis of the background and the other texts containing the same material, the best work in English is Theodore M. Andersson, A Preface to the "Nibelungenlied" (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987); also useful, though more focused on the Norse material, is the same author's The Legend of Brynhild (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980). Given Andersson's perspective, it is not surprising that his assessment of Müller's book is much more critical than mine: see the review in Journal of English and Germanic Philology 108 (2009): 547-549; I agree entirely, however, with his assessment that the book is not very reader-friendly. Certainly, such a broader context cannot and should not be dispensed with altogether, since it provides one of the explanations for how this work came into being; Müller's point is that it cannot be used to explain everything, and that one should also try and read the extant texts of the Nibelungenlied in their own right.
. An important collection of essays, including one by Gerd Althoff, is Barbara H. Rosenwein, ed., Anger's Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998). The two most important works by Althoff in this context are Verwandte, Freunde und Getreue: Zum politischen Stellenwert der Gruppenbindungen im früheren Mittelalter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1990), translated as Family, Friends and Followers: Politics and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); and Spielregeln der Politik im Mittelalter: Kommunikation in Frieden und Fehde (Darmstadt: Primus, 1997).
. Andersson, in his review (see note 4 above), believes that Müller credits the poet with a level of sophistication that "may strain our estimate of the poet's capacities" (p. 548), a view with innumerable precedents in the scholarship.
. The Nibelungenlied, trans. A. T. Hatto (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969); a new translation for Oxford World's Classics by Cyril Edwards, which promises to be excellent, is to be released later this year. Beyond Hatto's "Introduction to a Second Reading" in his translation, there is, alas, no general introduction to the work in English that I can recommend with a clear conscience, but those interested in this text's relationship to the rest of the tradition are well served by the 1987 work of Andersson cited in note 4, which provides a detailed analysis of how the German work relates to the Old Norse texts; some of the essays in the Companion edited by McConnell (cited in note 1) are also useful. An accessible translation of the main Norse prose version of the story, the Völsunga saga, is also available in Penguin Classics as The Saga of the Volsungs, trans. Jesse L. Byock (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990); a more scholarly translation, by R. G. Finch, with the Old Norse text facing the translation, is available online as a pdf file at http://vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/Volsunga%20saga.pdf. Andy Orchard's long-awaited translation (again for Penguin Classics) of the poetry of the Edda, the other principal Norse source, which is thought to present the oldest surviving material, will be released later this year; in the meantime, interested readers may choose from The Poetic Edda, trans. Carolyne Larrington (Oxford: Oxford University Press); and The Poetic Edda, trans. Lee M. Hollander (Austin: University of Texas Press). It is a testament to the appeal of this material for English readers that all three main sources are or will shortly be available in Penguin Classics paperbacks; all the more reason for the translation of Müller's work to have provided appropriate references.
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the network, at: https://networks.h-net.org/h-german.
Shami Ghosh. Review of Müller, Jan-Dirk, Rules for the Endgame: The World of the "Nibelungenlied".
H-German, H-Net Reviews.
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