The Ring Cycle: Wagner's Mythic Sources | Newberry

The Ring Cycle: Wagner's Mythic Sources

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
(This program continues for multiple sessions)
Wednesdays, February 26 – April 23

5:45 – 7:45 pm

Led by Karl E. H. Seigfried

We will examine the roots of Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung in Norse mythology and German literature. We will explore connections between Wagner’s libretti and the Eddas, Nibelungenlied, and Saga of the Volsungs. Carefully selected excerpts from a wide range of texts will be discussed for in-depth examination of these ancient sources.

Karl E. H. Seigfried has taught mythology and music at Carthage College and Loyola University. He writes The Norse Mythology Blog, and he holds degrees in literature and music from UC-San Diego, UW-Madison, and UT-Austin.

Materials List

No book purchases are required. Dr. Seigfried will provide specific excerpts from the following texts:

  • Beowulf translated by R.K. Gordon
  • Edda by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur
  • The Nibelunglied translated by Daniel Bussier Shumway
  • The Poetic Edda translated by Henry Adams Bellows
  • The Volsunga Saga translated by Eiríkr Magnússon & William Morris
  • The Rhinegold & The Valkyrie by Richard Wagner (libretti)
  • Siegfried & the Twilight of the Gods by Richard Wagner (libretti)
  • All of these texts are available as free eBooks in The Norse Mythology Online Library

Note: Dr. Seigfried highly recommends using these free online versions and does not require any books to be purchased. If you prefer buying the print versions, however, the following are recommended because, as newer publications, they are more readily available for purchase than the ones above:

  • Saga of the Volsungs translated by Jesse L. Byock, University of California Press
  • Edda by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony Faulkes, Everyman
  • The Poetic Edda, translated by Carolyne Larrington, Oxford
  • The Nibelungenlied, translated by Cyril Edwards, Oxford World’s Classics
  • Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion, translated by Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington, Thames Hudson

Note: An email address is required to register for this seminar.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program.

Cost and Registration Information 

Nine sessions, $230.
Register Online.