The Song of Nibelungen Bodies and How They are Described, Idealised and Eroticized. Part I. Der Helt Was Wol Gewahsen...

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the nibelungenlied
heroic epic
medieval literature

How to Cite

Sarakaeva, E. (2020). The Song of Nibelungen Bodies and How They are Described, Idealised and Eroticized. Part I. Der Helt Was Wol Gewahsen. Corpus Mundi, 1(1), 112-134.


The discovery of the medieval heroic epic “Das Nibelungenlied”in the XIX century Germany coincided with the search for new national mythology and symbols within the movement of Romantic medievalism. The heroic epic got a country-wide recognition asa great literary work that was supposed to serve as a source of German values and to reflect the German national character. With this approach the characters of the epic were re-constructed as embodiments of these German values, as ideals to follow. The article analyses the iconography of these characters, the “nibelungs”: the way they were visualized and depicted in fine arts and fiction and what ideological concepts were ascribed to their bodies and appearances. The first part of the article compares the descriptions of Nibelungen characters in the works of German authors of XIX-XXI centuries and compares them to the descriptions in the original text of the poem to see how cultural codes are constructed and interpreted through visualization of human bodies.


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