Academic journal article German Quarterly

'daz sint noch ungelogeniu wort': A Literary and Linguistic Commentary on the Gurnemanz Episode in Book III of Wolfram's Parzival

Academic journal article German Quarterly

'daz sint noch ungelogeniu wort': A Literary and Linguistic Commentary on the Gurnemanz Episode in Book III of Wolfram's Parzival

Article excerpt

Gilmour, Simon Julian. 'daz sint noch ungelogeniu wort': A Literary and Linguistic Commentary on the Gurnemanz Episode in Book III of Wolfram's Parzival (161, 9-179, 12). Heidelberg: C. Winter, 2000. 377 pp. paperback.

In the last four decades, Wolfram von Eschenbach's poetry and verse narratives have become the focus of various commentaries, the majority dealing withParzival. For several of its books, scholars have prepared commentaries both in English and German: Book I (Holger Noltze 1995), Book 111,116,5-138,8 (David N. Yeandle 1984) and 138,9-161,8 (Birgit Eichholz 1987), Book VII (Gisela Zimmermann 1974), and Book IX (Ernst-Joachim Schmidt 1979).

The present commentary by Simon Julian Gilmour must be seen in light of these earlier works. Gilmour's contribution brings to a close the commentary on Book III-it picks up where Eichholz left off, and concludes at the end of Book III-so that it was only natural that he modeled his work on Yeandle and Eichholz's commentaries. Although the author states in his introduction that the "work is orientated (sic) on the approach taken by Birgit Eichholz" (3), the present commentary much more closely resembles Yeandle's approach, especially concerning the degree of detail given. Like his two predecessors, Gilmour introduces each section of the Middle High German text with a brief literary interpretation of its content, followed by a comparison with the respective verses in Chreien's Perceval, and an overview of the section's structure, plot, main themes, motifs, and characters. These introductory remarks are supplemented by discussions of the most prominent scholarly debates on particular scenes, as well as references to pertinent scholarly publications. The commentary per se focuses on both larger textual units and on individual phrases and words.

Even though Gilmour's contribution is embedded in the tradition of earlier commentaries, this book stands out for several reasons. First and foremost, the appended fold-out text of the Gurnemanz episode is extremely practical. Furthermore, this commentary has a very detailed and wide-ranging index, allowing the reader to easily look up the annotations to particular words and concepts in the text. Besides these handy practical features, Gilmour supplies much more linguistic information than his predecessors. Unlike Yeandle and Eichholz, who only rarely discuss the grammatical forms of individual words, Gilmour parses the words and expressions he discusses, referring to their parts of speech, and, where applicable, gender, case, number, person, modus, tempus, as well as the verb classes. …

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