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December 2007

Benjamin Bagby and Epic-Bardic performance

To get a sense of what an epic is like in performance, become familiar with the work of Benjamin Bagby.

While most recently known for his performances of Beowulf, he has also known success with Germanic and Icelandic works.

Of special interest after reading the Nibelungenlied, should be Bagby's version of The Rheingold Curse, where you can find and listen to the "Lay of Brynhild."

Nibelungenlied selections

You will probably find that this narrative progresses by continuously weaving together its various threads, blending action, characterization, and focusing on the relationships and customs of the main characters. Keep in mind the epic flavor, a combination of history, myth, and legend, as well as the specific role of vengeance in advancing the action.

We will focus our discussion of The Nibelungenlied on the following chapters (Penguin edition):

1-3, 5-8, 10, 14-16, 19-20, 23, 25, 28-29, 33, 37, 39

For the first week's session, we will cover Chapters 1-19, and finish the following week with 20-39.