Part two is a systematic survey of the literary sources. It covers all the primary texts within the Dietrich and Nibelung cycles, as well as a number of early works and related legends which contribute to our knowledge of them. For each source there is a summary, a brief description of its connection with other works and, if important, an account of the critical issues involved and a sentence or two about the manuscript tradition. This is followed immediately by a mini-bibliography listing editions (and translations into English where available), key critical studies and review articles, and further bibliographic resources.
The extensive bibliographic information makes Heroic Legends of the North an excellent guide for anyone planning serious study of the subject. A chronology, a table of motifs, and a glossary of names make it a handy reference for anyone trying to unravel artistic, literary, or musical references. And, since it assumes no background knowledge (either of German literature, late Roman history, or the theory of oral transmission), Heroic Legends of the North is also a book for the merely curious — those who have, perhaps, read the Nibelungenlied in translation and want to understand its place in the broader scheme of things.
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