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The Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach.

-This is a metrical romance, written certainly not later than 1215, as Wolfram died about 1220, and wrote his William of Orange after the Parzival.

Wolfram claims to follow a French poem by a certain Kiot (i.e., Guiot). Crestien's poem is mentioned, but disparagingly:

The hero's father, Gahmuret, son of Gandin of Anjou, goes to the East, wins the dove of a heathen queen, Belakane, whom, after a while, he leaves to go back to his own country, and who in his absence bears a son, Feirefiz. Gahmuret meanwhile has married Herzeloyde; returning to the East he is slain in battle. [Here begins the portion of the poem which agrees with that of Crestien, the chief differences being as follows]: The more important position assigned to Parzival's cousin; the far greater prominence of the Grail, described as a stone yielding all manner of food and drink; its power sustained by a dove which every Good Friday lays a Host upon it; given after the fall of the rebel angels to Titurel and his dynasty; preserved by them in the Grail castle, Monsalvatch, and guarded by a sacred order of knights, the Templeisen, whom it chooses itself. These knights are vowed to virginity, their king alone being allowed marriage, and his incurable wound is due to his having taken up arms in the cause of worldly and unlawful love. The question Parzival should have put to him is, "What aileth thee, uncle?"

When he leaves the castle after the first visit he is mocked at by the inmates for having omitted the question. More stress is laid upon the broken sword, connected with which is a magic spell, to be mastered before Parzival can become master of the. Grail castle. In the interview with the hermit uncle Parzival is strongly urged to return to his wife Condwiramur [Crestien's Blanahefleur]. Gauvain's adventures are far more closely connected with the story of the chief hero than is the case in Orestien, though this may be due to the latter's poem breaking off in their midst. In the concluding portion of the work, to which nothing corresponds in Crestien, Parzival fights, unknowing, against his half-brother, Feirefiz, the fight being stopped by mutual recognition. The hideous damsel reappears, and bids Parzival to the Grail castle, where he is rejoined by wife and two sons; Feirefiz is baptized, weds the damsel who has care of the Grail, returns to the East, and is the father of Prester John. Parzival rules over the Grail kingdom, and his son, Loherangrain, is Knight of the Swan.

In comparing Wolfram with Crestien several points are worthy close attention. The Crusading-tone of the introductory history of the hero's father is noticeable in connection with the fact that order of Grail knights is obviously intended to suggest the great Crusading Order of the Knights Templar. As the whole of this part of the work is connected with a genealogical legend of the Angevin princes (our English Plantagenets), and betrays Southern French affinities in the personal and place-names, which differ greatly from those in Crestien, it is impossible that it can be the invention of the German poet, who must, in these particulars at least, be following a French source, which, again, must have been very different from Crestien. Once admit the existence of this French source and it seems simpler to refer to it the very important difference between the presentment of the Grail in the two works rather than to attribute it to Wolfram. With Crestien the Grail is distinctly a vessel, with Wolfram a stone; the former insists little, the latter much, upon its food giving properties. In Crestien, the Fisher King's wound has no moral justification; in Wolfram, it is the punishment of the king's sin in breaking his vow. In Crestien, the question relates to the nature of the talisman and the use to which it is put; in Wolfram, primarily to the sufferer from the effects of sin, secondarily to the hero who can only attain full perfection by sympathetic compassion with the suffering caused by sin. This deepened and intensified spiritual interpretation of the incident cannot be disassociated from the Crusading framework and the modelling of the Grail knighthood upon that of the Temple.

Quelle: The Legends of The Holy Grail, Alfred Nutt, London 1902, S. 11ff