1. Western Source Literature
  2. Buddhist Literature
  3. Writings of Richard and Cosima Wagner
  4. Historical and Biographical
  5. Mythology
  6. Concerning Parsifal
  • Title, author, translator or editor, publication date, publisher, city. Description.

Source Literature

See also: Appendix 1: Bibliography of Critical Works and of Major Texts of the Grail Legend in Loomis. Please note that, where an English translation is referenced, it might not be the only one available.

  • Contes populaires des anciens Brétons, Théodore Claude Henri Hersart de la Villemarqué,, 1842,, Paris. Wagner's first source for the story of Peredur. Wagner's Bayreuth library includes three other books by Villemarqué.
  • Mabinogion or The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, unknown, tr. Jeffrey Gantz, 1976, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. A collection of eleven prose tales from the Welsh oral tradition, including a version of Peredur. The earliest manuscript dates from about 1325.
  • Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1980, tr. A.T. Hatto, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. There are several other good modern editions available. Wolfram's Parzival is widely (but perhaps wrongly) regarded as the primary source of Wagner's poem. The edition that Wagner studied in 1859 was a modern German edition by San-Marte (Magdeburg 1836). His Dresden library contained Karl Lachmann's (MHG) edition (Berlin 1833) and the modern German edition by Simrock (1842). Wagner read one or both of these in 1845. His Bayreuth library also contains a later edition (1857) of Simrock's translation and one by Karl Bartsch (1871).
  • Parceval-Studien, San-Marte,,, Waisenhaus Verlag, Halle. One of Wagner's supplementary sources for his version of the Grail legend.
    • Vol. 1: German translation of Guiot de Provins, with commentary and glossary.
    • Vol. 2: Commentary on religion and the Grail in Wolfram von Eschenbach.
    • Vol. 3: The Grail knights.
    Wagner's Bayreuth library includes several other books by San-Marte, including his translations of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Brittanniae, parts of The Red Book of Hergest, and extracts from Der jüngere Titurel by Albrecht von Scharfenberg. Also San-Marte's life of Wolfram von Eschenbach.
  • Perceval le Gallois, compilation, 1866-71, tr. Ch. Potvin, Société des Bibliophiles de Mons. Seven volumes. Modern French text of Perceval and the Continuations, with Perlesvaus. See Wagner's Bayreuth Library for details.
  • Perceval: The Story of the Grail (Perceval ou il Conte du Graal) or Perceval li Gallois, Chrétien de Troyes, 1982, tr. Nigel Bryant, D.S. Brewer, Cambridge UK. Bryant's slightly abridged edition incorporates large parts of the Continuations, in which various authors (or editors) attempted to complete Chrétien's unfinished romance. Perceval was one of Wagner's sources for his version of the Grail legend.
  • Joseph d'Arimithie published as Le Roman de l'Estoire dou Saint Graal, Robert de Boron, ed. W.A.Nitze, 1927, Les Classiques français du moyen-âge, Paris. Parts of the text were translated by M. Schlauch and published in Medieval Narrative, 1928, NY. The Modena-manuscript prose versions of de Boron's Joseph and Merlin, together with the Modena Perceval have recently been translated into English: Merlin and the Grail, Nigel Bryant, 2001, D.S.Brewer, Cambridge UK.
  • Didot Perceval also known as Perceval le Gallois tr. as The Romance of Perceval in Prose, tr. D. Skeels, 1961, Univ. of Washington Press, DC. The book was named for a Parisian bookseller who owned one of the manuscripts. In French prose of the early 13th century, this work is presented as a continuation of Robert de Boron's Joseph and Merlin. It ends with an early version of the Mort Artu. The Didot text is a rather garbled version of the more consistent and complete text to be found in the Modena manuscript referred to above.
  • Perlesvaus, Le Haut Livre du Graal or The High History of the Grail, unknown, tr. S. Evans, 1903, 1969 reprint, James Clarke, Cambridge UK. Loomis describes this translation as inaccurate. Probably (especially if it is the first volume of Potvin's compilation) one of Wagner's supplementary sources for his version of the Grail legend. Text (English).
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail (Queste del Saint Graal), unknown, 1969, P.M. Matarasson, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK. From a literary viewpoint the most perfect story of the Grail, completed about 1225. Part of the Vulgate Cycle, and thus one of Malory's sources for his version of the Quest.
  • Sir Gawain at the Grail Castle, compilation, tr. J.L.Weston, 1903, Nutt (Arthurian Romances no.6),. This compilation includes three versions of the episode: that which Weston called the Bleheris version, part of the First Continuation to Perceval; the German poem Diu Crône (The Crown); and the version from the Prose Lancelot.
  • St. John Damascene: Barlaam And Ioasaph,, G.R. Woodward and H. Mattingly, 1914, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. The story of Barlaam and Josaphat, which Wagner added to his Dresden library (now on display in the basement of Haus Wahnfried) in a German translation re-published in 1843, was revealed by Carl Suneson to have been an important source for the second act of Parsifal. Online text.

Buddhism and Related Literature

Writings of Richard and Cosima Wagner

Historical and Biographical


  • The Quest of the Holy Grail, Jessie L. Weston,, 1913: 1990 reprint, The Banton Press, Largs Scotland.
  • From Ritual to Romance, Jessie L. Weston,, 1920: 1993 reprint, Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton NJ.
  • Die Graalslegende in psychologischer Sicht, Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz,, 1960, Walter Verlag AG, Olten. This study is the result of a thirty year long investigation into the Grail legend by Emma Jung, which was left unfinished on her death in 1955. The book was completed by M-L von Franz. In the Grail legend, a unique blend of fairy-tale and Christian legend, Emma Jung found a reflection of fundamental human problems and the dramatic psychic events which form the background of our Christian culture.
  • The Grail: from Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol, R.S. Loomis,, 1963, Univ. Wales Press/Columbia Univ. Press, Cardiff/NY.
  • Creative Mythology, Joseph Campbell,, 1968, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth UK.
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell,, 1972, Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton NJ.
  • Le Regard Eloigné, Claude Lévi-Strauss, 1983, Librairie Plon, Paris. Contains short essays on the Ring and Parsifal from a structuralist viewpoint.
  • The View From Afar, Claude Lévi-Strauss, tr. Joachim Neugroschel and Phoebe Hoss, 1985, Basil Blackwell Ltd., London. A translation of Le Regard Eloigné.
  • The Grail Legend, Emma Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz, tr. Andrea Dykes, 1998, Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton NJ. See above.

Concerning Parsifal : 1. Books entirely about Parsifal

2. Books containing useful chapters or essays about Parsifal

  • Music Criticisms 1846-99, E. Hanslick, ed. & trans. H. Pleasants, 1963,, London.
  • Das Geheimnis der Form bei Richard Wagner, Alfred Lorenz,, 1966 reprint,,Tutzing. Originally published in Berlin, 1926. Four volumes of which volume 4 concerns "Parsifal".
  • Revue wagnerién,,, 1885-8 reprinted 1971,, 3 volumes.
  • The Legends of the Wagner Drama, Jessie Laidlay Weston,, 1900, Ch. Scribner's Sons, New York.
  • Wagner Nights, Ernest Newman,, 1949, Pan Books Ltd., London.
  • Richard Wagner's Music Dramas, Carl Dahlhaus, tr. Mary Whittall, 1979, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge UK. Contains a fascinating analysis of Parsifal. Translated from Richard Wagners Musikdramen, 1971.
  • Acts, Wolfgang Wagner, John Brownjohn, 1994, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London.
  • Wagner, Michael Tanner,, 1996, Harper Collins, London.
  • The Wagners : The Dramas of a Musical Dynasty, originally: Wagner Theater (Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M. and Leipzig, 1999), Nike Wagner; English translation by Ewald Osers and Michael Downes, 2001. Nike Wagner's superficial and misguided ideas about her great-grandfather's music dramas are revealed in this compilation of musico-dramatic criticism, family history and self- promotion.
  • ...daß wissend würde die Welt! Religion und Philosophie in Richard Wagners Musikdramen (Wagner in der Diskussion, Band I), 2005, Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg. A collection of essays — some already published elsewhere and some new — concerning Wagner's relationship with religions (Christian, Vedantic, Buddhist) and with philosophy (Hegel, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer). While it is not an exhaustive treatment of these subjects, Kienzle has provided a valuable contribution to the Wagner literature and there are many insights revealed in her book.
  • Wagner Beyond Good and Evil, John Deathridge, Univ. of California Press, 2008, California and London. This collection of essays by a leading Wagner scholar contains a wide-ranging and thought- provoking essay on Parsifal.

3. Selected articles presenting different perspectives on Parsifal

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