Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Anonymous's The Nibelungenlied. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Nibelungenlied: Introduction
The Nibelungenlied: Plot Summary
The Nibelungenlied: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Nibelungenlied: Themes
The Nibelungenlied: Quotes
The Nibelungenlied: Characters
The Nibelungenlied: Symbols
The Nibelungenlied: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Anonymous
Historical Context of The Nibelungenlied
Other Books Related to The Nibelungenlied
- Full Title: The Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs)
- When Written: c. 1200
- Where Written: Austria
- When Published: c. 1200
- Literary Period: High Medieval
- Genre: Epic poetry
- Setting: Worms, Germany (Burgundy), and Hungary
- Climax: Hagen vengefully murders Siegfried when he bends over to drink water from a stream.
- Antagonist: Hagen
- Point of View: Third-person omniscient
Extra Credit for The Nibelungenlied
An Epic Turning Point. The Nibelungenlied was written in Middle High German and draws on oral traditions that trace back to the fifth and sixth centuries among Europe’s Germanic-speaking peoples. In harmonizing these traditions into a single literary work, the anonymous poet can be credited with founding the genre of Middle High German epic literature. Subsequent poems in this genre are classified as “post-Nibelungian” and often feature Dietrich, who is a secondary character in The Nibelungenlied.
Modern Popularization. Throughout the 19th century, The Nibelungenlied was increasingly considered to be the German national epic, even referred to as the “German Iliad.” Richard Wagner’s opera cycle, Der Ring Des Nibelungen (written between 1848 and 1874), helped bring the work to a wider audience, although his composition drew more heavily on older Norse and Icelandic parallels.