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Das Nibelungen Lied or Lay of the Last Nibelungers.

Translated into English verse after Professor Carl Lachmann's collated and corrected text by Jonathan Birch.

Published: Berlin: published by Alexander Duncker, bookseller to His Majesty the King of Prussia, 1848

Stock code: 66948

Price: £2,800

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First edition in English of the Nibelungenlied, published in Berlin at the behest of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia; this copy suitably extra-illustrated with plates reproducing the fresco paintings of the Nibelungenlied by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872) in the royal palace at Munich. The translator Jonathan Birch (1783–1847), a personal friend of the Prussian king, based his work on the edition of the philologist Karl Lachmann (1793–1851), who had proposed genealogical groups for the entire range of available manuscripts. Birch had moved from England to Prussia but died while the work was still in the press. The great German national epic, the Nibelungenlied had fallen into obscurity after the medieval era and was only rediscovered in 1755. The popularization of the Nibelungenlied over the course of the 19th century reached its apotheosis in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. With an original autograph letter from Miss Sophie L. McAlpine, dated 4 January 1913, explaining the circumstances of the book’s binding, and a few other pieces of associated manuscript material.

Octavo (218 150 mm). Near-contemporary Italian vellum over boards, red morocco label, spine richly gilt in compartments, sides bordered in gilt and with title in gilt to front cover, marbled endpapers. This copy extra-illustrated with a suite of 35 photographic plates, mounted on card and bound in on stubs. Spine label just a little worn at rear joint, a few minor spots, an excellent copy attractively bound and extra-illustrated.

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