Parzival

Description

Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question that would release Anfortas and make Parzival the new grail king. After a long odyssey and a religious catharsis, Parzival is able to return to Arthur's court and is marked as the new grail king. The tale, as evidenced by the manuscript tradition, enjoyed great popularity throughout the Middle Ages. This manuscript from the Bavarian State Library was produced by a single scribe who, his dialect indicates, must have lived in Bavaria. A charter from 1408 attached to the front cover and several 15th century manuscript entries in the margins of the leaves both indicate that the codex remained in Bavaria after its composition. The manuscript entered the private collection of Johann Jacob Fugger, with whose library it came to the Munich court library of the dukes of Bavaria in 1571.

Last updated: November 15, 2013