The Tale of Lohengrin Knight of the Swan – After the Drama of Richard Wagner.
Published by G.G. Harrap & Co., London, 1913. First edition.
Illustrated by WILLY POGANY including tipped-in colour lithographs and black and white illustrations in the text. Publisher’s gilt stamped and decorated brown cloth. Pogany’s best known works consist of illustrations of classic myths and legends done in the Art Nouveau style. He also worked as an art director on several Hollywood films.
Literary background of the tale
Lohengrin is a character in German Arthurian literature. The son of Parzival, he is a knight of the Holy Grail sent in a boat pulled by swans to rescue a maiden who can never ask his identity. His story, which first appears in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, is a version of the Knight of the Swan legend known from a variety of medieval sources. Wolfram’s story was expanded in two later romances. Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin of 1848 is based upon the legend.
The Grail Knight Lohengrin, son of the Grail King Parzival, is sent to the duchess of Brabant to defend her. Wagner took up these characters and set the “forbidden question” theme at the core of a story which makes contrasts between the godly and the mundane, and between Early Middle Age Christendom and Germanic paganism. Wagner attempted at the same time to weave elements of Greek tragedy into the plot.