X A notable X-lipogram in poetry can be found in George Henry Needler's 1904 translation of the German epic Nibelungenlied
. One 38 742-letter passage, beginning in the Sixteenth Adventure and ending in the Twentieth, contains nary an X.
With this in perspective, Macpherson had no choice but aggrandize or beautify what little actual traditional poetry he stumbled upon, and he had no choice but to lace his original verses with the type of patriotism that predominated in popularized works such as the Nibelungenlied
of Germany, the Poema del Mio Cid of Spain, and, although published nearly a century later, the Kalevala of Finland.
In The Nibelungenlied
(Armour, 1961), as this researcher reads it, attribution plays a role subordinate to descriptive reporting.
This story is very similar to the Nibelungenlied
. This epic is probably the most famous of the German Middle Ages, due to the amount of scholarly attention paid to it and its rebirth as Richard Wagner's opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen.
His biographer Humphrey Carpenter uses this example to support his claim that "comparison of his Ring with the Nibelungenlied
and Wagner always annoyed Tolkien" (202); Carpenter also alludes to Tolkien, while still a schoolboy, making "a passing jibe at Wagner whose interpretation of the myths he held in contempt" (46).
Norse saga, classical myth, the Nibelungenlied
: These are other sources for the artist's keen attraction to the literary and poetic.
It derives from Carlyle's essay on the Nibelungenlied
(in the Critical and Miscellaneous Essays), a text which helped establish the medieval German poem as a canonical work in the mid-nineteenth century; Carlyle calls it "a precious national possession, recovered after six centuries of neglect, [which now] takes undisputed place among the sacred books of German literature" (8:149).
The great Germanic epics, like the Nibelungenlied
or Gottfried von Strassbourg's Tristan, have long been known through the lens of Wagner, while the Minnesingers--often noble amateurs--are also celebrated for their writing about love.